I’m a pretty loyal Canadian in many ways. I prefer exploring my own country by road rather than other countries by air. I read Canadian history as a hobby. I think I’ve voted in every federal election since I got the opportunity to vote. As stated in previous posts, I have special interest in Canadian musicians. I prefer the CBC over other channels for my newscasts. I attend a parade and/or fireworks on July 1 if at all possible. I enjoy watching many sports but prefer CFL football to the NFL and my favourite sport to watch is ice hockey—sometimes called Canada’s national game [with apologies to lacrosse].
In hockey my favourite teams are Canadian teams: I grew up cheering for the Leafs, switched to the Jets when they got a professional team, then when we lost the Jets and our family moved to Calgary I added the Flames [subsequently had to dislike the Oilers]; when we moved to the west coast I began to appreciate the Canucks but felt compelled to switch back to Winnipeg as my favourite when the NHL came back to my home province. I’d love to see Ottawa win a Stanley Cup because it has been almost 100 years and for Toronto it has been 50; and of course, Winnipeg and Vancouver deserve their first! Although nowadays one can watch hockey almost any night of the week, Saturday night is when it becomes “the thing to do” for me. My favourite players on other teams are also often Canadian: Jonathon Toews, Braden Holtby, Jerome Iginla, and Carey Price just to name a few active veterans. And I can’t help but get on the Connor McDavid bandwagon just because he is such an exciting player to watch.
So, with the NHL playoffs just around the corner, the interest in the game again heightens, especially since at present five of the seven Canadian teams have a chance this year [compared to the depressing situation last year when no Canadian teams made the playoffs]. Unfortunately, I do not think that this will be the year we will bring the Cup home to Canada. Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto, and Ottawa are all young and exciting teams but I don’t think they have the experience and endurance to make it past the second round, although I will be happy if I am proven wrong. Montreal has Carey Price and Shea Weber but it will not be enough. In the west, Jonathon Toews could lead Chicago to another one and make it a dynasty or Joe Thornton and the Sharks could go right to the end as they did last year. In the east, Sidney Crosby and Matt Murray could help Pittsburgh repeat but my prediction is that the Washington Capitals [I know, the capital city of the USA] will take it all this year led by Alexander Ovechkin [He may not be Canadian but I love his passion and joy for the game]. And of course, they have Braden Holtby of Lloydminster [border city between Alberta and Saskatchewan] as the solid back-stopper and Barry Trotz from Winnipeg, Manitoba as their coach.