MONTREAL, QC. — Welcome to another installment of Two Minutes for Asking, All Habs’ advice column for hockey fans. This edition is meant to help you with solve some problems you might be having now that there is no NHL hockey to help get you through the day. We thought hockey fans would be in such dire need of advice that, for the first time, there are two writers here to help you. Let’s get started:
Hockey is what I bond over with my family/friends/coworkers. What am I supposed to do with them now?
You can talk hockey with your uncle even if there isn’t an exciting game coming up that week. Ask him about all the Stanley Cup wins he saw in the 70′s, and what hockey broadcasts were like before they were constantly interrupted by commercial breaks. Ask him about the street hockey games he played when he was a kid. Watch old games together!
You can turn the lockout into an opportunity to teach your younger siblings something new. Maybe get them to read some sports books, or watch an AHL game with you, or have a weekly movie night. In the time it takes you to watch three hockey games, you could also watch the original Star Wars trilogy. What I remember most about the 2004 lockout was that Hockey Night in Canada became Movie Night in Canada.
And I know that sitting at a pub and watching a game is a great way to spend time with friends, and a good excuse to go out on a weeknight, but I’m sure you’re smart enough to come up with some alternatives. Going to trivia night at the pub can be just as competitive as any sport, as long as you actually know some trivia. A night of karaoke is just as embarrassing as a loss to the Leafs, but it’s so much funnier. A basket of sweet potato fries and a glass of beer are great, but why not get your friends together to try a new restaurant every week? Go sample some incredibly spicy Thai curries, or fancy gourmet shepherd’s pie. Take your significant other to that fancy steakhouse on the other side of town that they’ve been raving about.
I don’t know what to do with myself, because during the season I spend all of my time watching hockey and talking about it.
If this was a really bad movie, I would grab you by the shoulders, shake you, and say “Snap out of it! We need you!” But maybe you just can’t snap out of it, so here are some alternatives:
Follow the players’ lives during the lockout! Which of them are doing a lot of charity work? Which of them are enjoying their extended offseasons a little too much? Who is trying their hand at a season in the AHL, or a European hockey league, or baseball?
Or, stop watching hockey and start actually playing it. The NHL players we watch every night have to spend as much time on their game as most of us do in the classroom or the office. So, start giving more of your free time to the game. Play every week. Skate every day. Practice every night. See if a local youth team needs volunteers and help out. There’s so much you can do.
I usually join three or four (or nine) hockey pools and now I won’t know what to do with myself.
I think it would be really funny if someone started a fantasy hockey league that was literally all fantasy. If it wasn’t even based on real hockey games. Some random generator just happens to decide which defenceman will go on a scoring streak and which team will pull their goalie in the second period. Everything is left up to chance. It’s a crazy idea, but if you miss your hockey pools that much, it may just work.
What can I use my TV for if there are no hockey broadcasts?
Anything else. I know most hockey fans have an innate hatred for the NBA, and I don’t know why. It’s just as fast and unpredictable as hockey, and the players with huge personalities don’t get shamed for them. The basketball season starts and ends at the same time as the NHL season, and you have time to watch it now. All that I’m saying is give basketball a chance.
Or try actually watching TV when it airs. You have no idea how many times I’ve told someone about a great series that I’m watching (every week, because that’s how TV shows air in the real world) only to be met with silence and a raised eyebrow. Then, MONTHS later, after the show has been out on DVD for nearly a year, that same person comes back to me and says “Hey, have you ever watched this show?” and raves about it as if they created it. No. Just stop. People like you are the reason why great TV series get cancelled before their time.
Can I wear my jersey to work even if there’s no game that night?
You can wear what you want, when you want. Imagine that? Wardrobe freedom! Unless your workplace enforces some type of dress code.
I don’t want to buy new NHL merchandise until the lockout is over. What should I do?
You have so many options if you still want to do some hockey-related shopping, without actually forking over more money to the people negotiating over it.
Search the Internet for T-shirts and whatnot designed by fans. There are incredibly talented designers out there, and you should support them.
Become one of those people who trolls garage sales, online auctions, and flea markets for bargains. The worst thing that can happen is that you won’t find anything. The best thing that can happen is that you’ll get your own reality show! You never know when you’ll find something great. I know someone who paid $10 for a Detroit Red Wings jersey in Sydney, Australia, not even two months after they won the Stanley Cup in 2008.
Or make your own! Step one: Learn how to knit. Step two: Knit yourself a replica of every Habs jersey from 1909 until the present.
Paint some team logos onto a set of beer mugs, or use stickers or decals and seal them with some kind of clear glaze.
Can I still chirp fans of rival teams if there’s no new material to come up with?
Yes! Rival teams don’t need to play hockey to be a bunch of jerks, or be so bad that they would probably lose all 82 games this season anyway.
Alternate answer: No! You can try and talk about things other than hockey. I have a cousin who likes a team that I don’t, at all, and we can’t talk about hockey, but we have a great time whenever we play video games or watch movies or go to the casino together. Some people are just cooler than the hockey teams they cheer for. (Some aren’t.)
Most importantly, fans, just remember that lockouts are temporary, and that there is a world out there beyond the high ticket prices and the personalized jerseys. Go out there and enjoy it, because you don’t have to worry about getting back to your TV before the game starts.
Do you need advice on something hockey-related? Email erica [at] allhabs.net and she might feature it in an upcoming column! (The advice might may or may not be worth taking.)
Category: Fan Focus