My devotion to the Vancouver Giants of the WHL is new. I’ve come to realize recently that it’s a selfish act, because my new hobby permits me three of my favorite indulgences.
First: It represents yet another excuse to interact with the lively swarm of personalities on HockeyBuzz chat in ways I didn’t think that simple typing allowed. A work-at-home developer in Somewhere, Illinois with an impressive knowledge of the world beyond his door. A warm, decent guy in Calgary whose son we all monitor like clucking mother hens. An erudite professional communicator who’s lived the life to which many of us aspire. A gun-toting Texas housewife interested in fine dining. A bright, funny, slightly under-employed grad student who will someday breathe life into people. I can go on: accountants, paramedics, salesmen.
Secondly: The young hockey players encourage me to re-visit my own hockey mythologies. Stories lost to time, these are: forcing my poor mother to buy me $300 worth of goalie gear (including a Rangers jersey) and send me to Haliburton Hockey Haven up in the Lake Country.
My ego wants to elbow the truth out of the way now: I didn’t perform like my idol Eddie Giacomin. My debut saw me putting my pads on backwards, skating out on the ice to peals of laughter and shamefacedly wobbling off to correct myself.
Third: The unabashed pleasure I take in the game and all it represents. I imagine towns and cities all over North America, places I’ve lived or could have lived, full of kids and their parents, skating, striving and loving this game that is like no other. Or old bucks, prostatically challenged, bending over bellies to lace up skates and get that life-changing glide just one more time. People so in love with their school/mite/college/junior/pro teams they seem drugged and dreamy.
I’ve been to Vancouver twice. It’s the most beautiful city I’ve ever seen - that’s part of the reason I root for the Giants. More importantly, my HockeyBuzz colleagues and I have achieved an alignment of sorts. Two New Englanders root for future Bruins prospects (I like prospects too). We enjoy the authentic voice of hockey - a talented young play-by-play man named Joey Kenward. And we interact passionately over it all.
So, I’m completely in. For friends, for youth, for the game eternal.... Go Giants!