Lesson #334: That Time the Stanley Cup Spent the Night in the Rideau

In 1905, the Ottawa Silver Seven (pre-NHL, so the team was made up of amateur players) won the Stanley Cup*, after which the team went boozing. Like victorious teams — and losing teams, I suspect — are wont to do. As a group of adrenaline-high, liquored up macho dudes aren’t usually the best decision-makers, their post-game festivities took a turn for the rather stupid when forward Harry Smith accepted a dare from his teammates to drop-kick Lord Stanley’s Cup into (or over, depending on what you read) the Rideau Canal. 

Now, I’m definitely not one to throw stones because I have been known to make my own stupid choices after a few beers,** but the men of the Silver Seven then promptly forgot all about Lord Stanley’s Cup and sauntered off — presumably to get more beer — without it. So it spent the night in the Rideau.

Smith went back the next morning to retrieve it.

Here’s the thing: there are varying reports about this. It’s January in Ottawa (remember, this is well before the days when hockey season ends in June). I’m pretty familiar with winter in Ottawa, and the Rideau freezes up pretty well; it’s a big thing to skate on it. So the likelihood that the Cup ended up at the bottom of the Rideau in the dead of winter is almost nil. The Hockey Hall of Fame’s page says it was pulled from the water. Sports Illustrated says it was retrieved from the dry bed of the canal. The Wiki mention of it on the Sens’ page cites Michael McKinley’s Hockey: A People’s History and says it was rescued from the surface of the ice. So…I guess go with whatever version you like? I’ll go with the one that makes the most sense. 

As an aside: I also learned that the Fourth Earl Grey was the Governor General of Canada at the time. As a tea-drinker and hockey fan, this amuses me — though the tea was not named for this particular one, but for his grandfather, the Second Earl Grey, who served as Prime Minister of Great Britain and Ireland in the 1830s. The Grey Cup, however, was named for this Earl Grey.

For more, read the Sports Illustrated article from before I was born. (See, Dad, I’m not “nearly old.” Jerk!***Or see if you can find McKinley’s book. The Hall of Fame’s reference is here. Or you can read the Wiki entry

*which, at the time, was just the sterling silver bowl that makes up the top of the modern trophy

**True story: I have a scar on the back of my left leg from the time I forgot there was a ditch on the other side of a barbed wire fence a friend and I had climbed over in the middle of nowhere in the southern state where I used to live so we could go climb a windmill in the middle of the night. I managed, in one jump, to rip a two-inch gash into my flesh from one of the barbs, damage my right ankle in a way that, to this day, doesn’t allow me to wear certain pairs of high heels, leave myself with a limp for two weeks, and require a tetanus booster. And that was only after three beers. Legally, I was still sober.

***Dear readers, please don’t think I say that with any sort of seriousness. My dad is awesome, and I love him very much.

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Lesson #294: The Psychology of Sports Desperation

I got home from a baseball game last night in time to catch the end of the Red Wings/Blackhawks Game 7. Though I am not a fan of either team (and the Red Wings will be moving into the same division as my team next season), I was cheering for the Red Wings because I support any continued opportunity to watch Pavel Datsyuk be amazing.* Unfortunately, I was on the wrong side of the cheering section, but it was a pretty intense final few minutes.**

Anyway, this reminded me of an article I read years ago about how fans of losing teams are actually happier overall than fans of teams that are perennial winners. The examples they used were the Pirates and the Yankees. While I was looking around for this article (which I couldn’t find), I came across a more recent article about how fans find games more entertaining and get more enjoyment from them if there’s a dash of desperation involved for their team.***

*I mean this in the literal sense, not in the over-used North American crutch adjective sense. Anyone who can dangle a puck so hard that it lands someone of Logan Couture’s calibre on his backside is okay by me.**** Also, as an aside, Glenn Healy’s recent declaration that Datsyuk doesn’t have “all the God-blessed talent in the world” is truly hilarious. This is a man whose last name has been made into an adjective. And, as the Puck Daddy post linked above notes, “The man is a wizard. There are wizards, I imagine, who see him do what he does and think, “Damn, that’s some next-level crap.”

**Not unlike the final few minutes of my team’s game 7, only without the epic collapse. *sigh*

***They do not find it enjoyable when their team somehow blows a 4-1 lead with ten minutes to go in game 7.

****I reserve all right to completely change my opinion of this ability when it’s someone from my team who gets caught out come the 2013-14 season.

Lesson #258: Ringette

Inevitably, conversations with my brother end up on hockey. Which, I think, is because on the whole, we’re fans of different sports and what sports we have in common, we support different teams. He’s a Red Sox fan, I’m a glutton for punishment. He loves American football, I love soccer football. But we are both Maple Leafs fans.

Anyway, we were talking tonight and we got onto hockey and somehow that made its way to ringette (and his somewhat hilarious attempts to explain it to someone). At which he informed me, to my surprise, that ringette still exists. I had assumed that with the rise of women’s hockey, ringette was a thing of the past.

We both had friends who played ringette growing up. One of my friends, in particular, was very good at it. It was, essentially, what you played if you were a girl. It’s like hockey…played on ice with five players and a goalie, the penalties are the same, the rink is the same size, there’s a stick (sort of) and a puck (more or less) and the point is to get the puck (as it were) into the goal. The stick has no blade and the puck is actually a rubber and felt ring so it’s easier to handle than a puck, but other than that, it’s more or less the same as hockey.

And, while the largest ringette community is in Canada, once women’s hockey came into play as a viable option most Canadian girls apparently headed in that direction to dominate the world, the Finns pretty much rule the ringette world. They’ve won the last 3 (and 5 of the last 7) world championships. And placed second in the other two. (The Canadians have won the other two and finished second in the other five).*

*That information can be found here.

Lesson #84: Edmonton’s Gold Medal Water Consumption

10/3 edit: No fewer than eight of my friends have since sent me a link to this graph. Apparently, there is something about me that screams “Disquisitive needs to see this graph!”

So 80% of Canada watched the gold medal game, which is hardly surprising. But the water people for the city of Edmonton released a graph the other day that popped up in two places in my world today. It made me laugh because it’s not even a little bit surprising. In my house, it was no different — which is partly because only two of the five of us were home and Club Manager Housemate and I were both watching the game.* So, without further ado, the water consumption for the city of Edmonton for the day of February 28.

This graph can be found here and here.

*Really, he was more watching my reaction to it than he was watching the game itself.

An Addendum to Lesson #8: Slew-Footing In Action

One of my first posts was about a hockey penalty that I didn’t know existed, something called slew-footing. Until last night, I had never seen it. During the third period of the Canada/Russia game, Dan Boyle (Canada/San Jose) and Alexander Semin (Russia/Washington) had a little scuffle behind the net, which ended when Boyle slew-footed Semin at the blue line. Apart from it being a dirty hit and stupid penalty to take, I thought it was awesome. Because I had never seen it called before.* And no one got hurt.

*I’d have thought it decidedly less awesome if the game had been close or we’d been losing and taken that penalty.

Forthcoming, I promise

20/2 edit: I was going to take this post down after I posted the day’s lesson, especially since my dad emailed me yesterday afternoon to suggest that I was on the verge of going completely off the rails and turning the blog into one giant rant. But my mother (strangely) found it funny, as did the friend in Texas who had the joy of talking to me in the closing minutes of the game, so I’ve decided to leave it.

There was learning, but my day kind of got away from me yesterday. In my normal life, I post after I watch the early hockey game, which in my world ends later than I should probably still be awake, but I’m kind of a vampire (in the hours I keep, I mean…I don’t actually think I’m a vampire), but I’m usually up for another hour or so after the early game is over. Longer if my west coast team is playing and I can sleep in the next day.

Anyway, last night was the Canada/Switzerland game, the last 30 minutes of which, I literally spent lying on the floor, trying to keep my blood pressure from making my heart explode, wishing I could reach through my screen and punch the commentators* in the throat — so much so that I conceded to a friend in a major city in the Mid-Atlantic that I’d gladly trade them for Joe Buck, whom I abhor with every ounce of my being — because every word out of their mouths was more absurd than the one before, reminding myself to breathe, trying not to shout at the game (or the commentators) because my housemates keep normal people hours and were sleeping, and swearing to one of my closest friends, who just moved to a city in Texas that I have never been to, that I was going to be sick.

I’m not joking.

I always forget this because my teams so rarely make the playoffs of anything, but I really suck at watching important sporting events in which I have a vested interest. Especially if the game is close. And the team you’re cheering for is starting to remind you of your horribly inept regular season team. And they can’t seem to buy a goal, no matter how hard they try.

So yeah, the next few hours after that were spent not writing a post. Instead, they were spent trying to bring my blood pressure back down.

You’ll have a post soon.

*For the first three games the terribleness of the commentators was hilarious. I swear on my life, I heard the following statement in yesterday’s US/Norway game: “they’re referring to him as a swan or a mother goose, gliding across and making himself look big.” Do you have any idea what that means, because I don’t. They were talking about Ryan Miller, if that helps. Oh, it doesn’t? Yeah, I didn’t think it would. Anyway…their ineptitude was hilarious for three games. It stopped being hilarious when they started getting on my favourite player in the middle of the FIRST PERIOD for not scoring a hat trick like he did in the game against Norway on Tuesday. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!? It’s not like he wasn’t feeding the puck well or putting himself in front of the goal (both of which he was doing). But that was irrelevant because he hadn’t scored three goals in the first ten minutes of play. It was even less hilarious when at the end of the second period they were packing the entire competition in for Canada. YOU NONSENSICALLY COMPARED RYAN MILLER TO A GOOSE! YOU DON’T GET TO DECIDE CANADA HAVE IMPLODED WITH A FULL THIRD OF THE GAME YET TO PLAY! There’s a word for that where I live. It’s “wankers.”

Lesson #57: 15,000 Gallons

My dad expressed concern at the weekend about how other topics were quickly overtaking hockey. Clearly I am failing him as the sports-loving daughter of a native of a hockey-mad Canadian city. And, given that the first of the Olympic hockey games will take place a week from today (yay!), I thought I’d indulge him…

Autobiographical note: I used to have a job, part of which entailed building and painting an ice rink for a professional — that’s their term, not mine — hockey team. Building a rink is basically laying down a layers of water with white paint in it on a chilled concrete floor and then spending two hours waiting for it to freeze. And that goes on for about a quarter inch. At that point, you get to bring in the whole crew to paint the lines and put down the logos (which are usually mesh that can be frozen right into the ice), which is cold because you spend a lot of time sitting or lying on the ice getting that done and then shaving a layer of ice away if there’s paint where there shouldn’t be. And then it’s just slowly flooding it with a hose. Over and over and over again for about a day.*

I was thinking about this the other day and realized that I have absolutely no idea how much water that actually is.  So I went looking. Google pops up some ridiculous answers. Like the one that said 2 billion. It turns out that for an NHL sized rink (200′ x 85′) it takes 15,000 gallons of water to make an inch of ice.**

*A great page detailing how ice is made can be found here.

**More information about hockey ice can be read here.