National Treasure #6: Hockey

“Who owns hockey?” As I write this, the 2016 World Cup ad asking this question has been playing for a while. The concluding line is crafted to elicit an unabashedly emotional, patriotic response . . .

“Canada didn’t just invent hockey; hockey invented Canada.”

All right then.

I came late to hockey, but if I can get there, I figure anyone can. If not to rabid fandom, then at least to a basic understanding of the game, an appreciation of the skill required to play it at all (much less well), and an acknowledgement of its cultural presence, from the little cuties playing Timbits Minor Hockey on up.

Herewith, a photo taken at a 2013 match between some current and long-since-graduated Royal Military College cadets: Men aged 20 or thereabouts playing against men aged 65 or thereabouts. All playing with the will to win, for sure, but with an even greater joy in the game itself. Hockey truly is a national treasure.

Two pick-up teams line up for the start of a hockey game

This is one of a series on Canadian national treasures – my sesquicentennial project. They reflect people (living and dead), places and things that I think are worth celebrating about our country, and are done in no order of precedence.

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