A nice piece for Team Orange’s trophy cabinets. To think, with a different bounce or two in the first game, that this could have been a white puck. Next year baby, next year….
Category Archives: WOHL
Ah, the annual Monday after. After the end of the WOHL season that is, and the Monday after is when the annual symposium is held at the Central in Elmira. The WOHL band will play, the chicken wings will be trotted out, former stars like Lloyd will be present in the shadows, having passed with the torch with failing hands to the younger oldtimers in the WOHL several years back.
There will be the speeches, the formal awarding of the Golden Boot (hockey’s other highest honour), talk of things that went wrong on Saturday past for Blue, White and Red and right for Orange.
And at the end, we’ll all go home wondering what we’ll do this Thursday night and counting how many months / weeks / days it really is until September.
Charles Schulz would have been proud if he’d been in Elmira today. The creator of the Peanuts comic strip was an avid hockey fan. However, as well as creating Charlie Brown and his merry band of carousing guy buddies, his colourful pooch Snoopy and some pretty saucy young dames, he also gave life to the unseen character known as the Great Pumpkin.
And so, had he been in Elmira today, he would have witnessed something almost as rare as a spotting of the Great Pumpkin itself, and that is the victory of the Golden Boot by the W’s Orange team (aka. Pumpkin). It is well known lore in the W that Orange is a cursed colour to play for. As Warmington said after the game, if you play for Orange, that should be worth about a 20 goal handicap before blades hit the ice.
But today was their day, from the jamming home of a goal on their first shift against my mates on White to their 3-0 record when all the games ended, today was a beautiful day to be Orange.
However, the W’s season finale isn’t really about winning. (Ok, we all try pretty hard to win and White thinks it really should have won but that’s a topic for a different day). No, the finale is more about enjoying all the good things that come from a bunch of like-minded blokes laughing and joking their way through a half a day each year to finish off a season. During the regular season, you get maybe 15-20 minutes before and after each game to socialize (less if you’re me or Tim Ireland, more if you are the Sedin Twins, Jimmy David or Bernie). On the day of the season ending tournament, you get to know people better. Here’s a sampling of stuff I didn’t know when I woke up this morning:
– Warmington once picked up a road-killed racoon and threw it in the back of his Ford station wagon one winter night thinking he would give it to one of his buddies who traded coon pelts. However, he promptly forgot about it, traded the Ford in one fine spring day before the thaw and heard later about the discovery coming as it did after some strange aromas needed to be investigated on the used car lot.
– Fulch’s Dad once decided the campground-sold firewood wasn’t for him and headed down the road into the bush, found a log to throw into the back of the wagon and drove back to the campground only to scare the beejeezus out of his travelling companion uncle when they discovered, much to the pain of his snake-fearing uncle that there was a snake’s nest in the log. While “Snakes-in-a-Car” isn’t the snappy Hollywood title that “Snakes on a Plane” was, the fact that this was for real made it a better story
– someone’s hockey bag once had a nest of mice in it and they decided to leave their home while the owner and bag were en route to the rink in the car. Again, this even less scary than Snakes-in-a-car but it has does have a charm of its own as hockey-bag stories go. Upon hearing this someone commented “Where the hell does he keep his bag?”
– Ref Rich indicated that ref’ing some college girl games enabled him to learn that not all girls are made of sugar and spice and all things nice. While Rich doesn’t get intimidated by anyone in the W and is quite happy to laugh off any of us who get wound up at him for his calls / non-calls during the season, I think I heard his voice quiver a little as he described some of these college-girl games
– lastly, and I’m a bit biased in favour of Pat’s story-telling abilities, his story about a business trip to China was just as funny to me on the third telling as it was in the first. (On the third go, we were sitting in Red’s dressing room eating their food and drinking their bevies after it had become clear they weren’t going to help us win by beating Orange in the final game). In this particular yarn, which is too weird to be made up and proves that truth is stranger (and funnier) than fiction, Pat outlined how business on this particular trip seemed to get done during the big lunch and dinner feasts that had the eatees drowning in all kids of booze. (In fact, I believe the Indonesian fellow who fell off his chair may have in fact actually drowned). One morning after a particularly heavy feast the night before, one that Pat described by stating things were getting “pretty cloudy at the end”, they entered some chairman’s private dining room only to discover what appeared to be a five-gallon aquarium with a dead lizard on a stick, half in / half out of the aquarium, with all manner of fungus and seaweed and ginseng and other assorted life forms bubbling and growing. “That’s ugly.” Pat suggested to his Canuck sidekick. Ugly would have been fine had it not turned for the worse after lunch when the ladles came out and the hosts started pouring this unique brand of kool-aid into glasses for the businessmen to drink. Makes a nice pull on on a cold beer after a game of hockey to chase down some smoke-cured sausage seem so civilized doesn’t it?
And so, another year is in the books. The Golden Boot goes to Orange. Here’s to Monday night’s symposium where we relive today one more time over chicken wings and just enough vegetables to make ourselves believe we’re eating healthy and staying in shape for next season. And here’s to the second Monday in September when we open up those musty hockey bags and, after checking things first based on the what we learned from the tales above, throw on our gear to begin a new season.
Blue closed out the season tonite with another win – the third in a row in another solid effort. Post game, the jerseys were thrown in a heap, torches to be past to a new set of blue warriors who will wear them on Saturday at the season finale.
We all agreed it was a great second half. The Sedin twins / Sundin sisters providing comedic relief and offensive punch every night, Kernel pushing those same twins / sisters with his savvy hockey leadership skills and the rest of us playing as role players play – hard, full of promise, willing always to take one for the team.
But one by one, as we pulled our gear out the door, our colours changed. I turned white, some went red and orange and a handful stayed blue. On Saturday, Blue are the bad guys.
Good refreshments. And so, with the White team gelling nicely via email this week in anticipation of Saturday’s season close-out tournament, the talk was decidedly around who was bringing what to the rink to replenish the machine between games. I’m almost embarrassed to say that I don’t think Martha Stewart could have planned this any better. The only thing I didn’t read someone bringing was a table cloth and some doilies.
On the upside, man does not live on ice alone. And so on that note, our list so far includes gatorade, water, mennonite sausge, portugese sausage, various cheeses, nachos and dip, assorted fruits and veggies (seriously, who drafted that guy?). Blue, Orange, Red – look out. If nourishment alone can fuel a team for victory, we’ll be tough to beat.
Some games are painfully difficult, some are wonderfully simple. You’ll note I didn’t use the word “easy” to define the opposite of difficult. No game is ever easy for an old-timer. Let’s leave it at simple. Tonight’s game was a good example of simple.
Red has owned us the last few times we played them, but not tonight. We scored early and often and cruised to a 6-2 win. The hockey gods were good to us tonight. Our tender was awesome and made some solid saves as we rolled in some nice ones at the other end. Red’s tender was also good but it was just one of those games where, when he looked left, the puck was on the right, when he went down, Jonesy and McTavishy shot high.
Pucks went to the net and good things happened. Pucks hit legs and went in instead of hitting legs and staying out. Pinches at the blueline kept pucks in instead of turning into breakaways for the bad guys. Simple stuff and at the end, a win for Blue. We all agreed it was a very good game.
The much anticipated email from the freshly-minted captains of this year’s end-of-year WOHL tourney were sent yesterday. And the verdict is…White is the new Blue.
Yes, I’ll be trading in my blue sweater for a white one late Thursday night. White looks solid, really solid. As much as I’ll have blue tatooed on my chest forever, it is just a wash-off tatoo and by post-game Thursday night, I’ll be as white as white on rice.
The year-end tournament is an epic event and one all WOHL’ers look forward to. Five hours on a Saturday where each team gets three 40-minutes games. In between, there is a literal feast going on since most of us will have skipped breakfast to get to the rink on time as well as a figurative feast of trash-talk, taunts and hockey blarney.
And of course, we get to play hockey.