I’m not a rich man, at least in monetary terms. So when I decided to show my support for my favorite hockey team, the Toronto Maple Leafs, I bought a practice jersey (the color-coded jerseys that NHL teams practice in, which are less than half the price of game jerseys.)
I got a green one, which has become a staple of my St. Patrick’s Day attire.
So it’s not a game jersey, and since I bought it, a newer design has been developed. So it’s outdated too.
But I simply don’t care. I wear it with pride wherever I go (in Toronto).
Not costing $300 like some game jerseys, it’s not a status symbol. Being old, it’s also not a way for me to show how up to date I am with Leaf products… Besides, let’s face it, Leaf fans have little reason to live in the now.
I wear the damn thing to show my support for the team. End of story.
Last week the International Olympic Committee announced it has decided to enforce a rule that will prevent teams from wearing jerseys that don a national hockey federation’s logo.
Since the announcement, national players on both the men’s and women’s teams are prepared to drop gloves over it.
Steve Yzerman, executive director of the 2010 men’s team, told the Canadian Press that Hockey Canada’s logo “signifies our pride and our tradition and our history.”
Yes, I’m always blabbering on about the overwhelming pride I feel for the logo.
It seems I’m constantly saying things like, “Go team with Hockey Canada’s logo!” and “Team Canada played well — they sure did do Hockey Canada’s logo proud!”
I don’t care if some players are weeping because they’ve got a chance to represent Canada, instead of Canada and the national hockey federation. That’s their problem.
The real piss-off is that players and execs are arguing that since we were exempted from the rule the last three Winter Games, it should continue to be that way.
Imagine what we’d be saying if the US was arguing for that privilege — we’d be crying bloody murder!
Just because we invented the sport, we’re the best at it and we’re super cool — it’s true, we are — does not excuse us from the rules. We’re only making ourselves look like pretentious, spoiled brats. I tell you, we’ve got some gall.
Memo to national players: Hockey Canada may provide you coaching and financial assistance, but you are not playing for the association, you’re playing for the wonderful nation of Canada. So as long as you’re playing in a jersey with a maple leaf on it — red and white would be nice — you should be feeling nothing but immense pride and joy.
And let’s not forget that it’s just a logo — a logo! — and not a particularly nice looking one! It’s basically a cheap rip off of the NBA logo, instead it’s a maple leaf split into two differently coloured sections by the silhouette of a hockey player.
If it was all about the tradition, our national players would still be wearing wool jerseys from when hockey first became an Olympic sport in 1920.
And not reproductions, but the actual ones used, which by this point would be as worn down and tattered as the Liberal Party.
And for those who keep saying Canada’s men’s team won a gold in 2002 with that logo on the player’s chests: We have won some others without it … six, to be exact.
Contact Tom Patrick at email@example.com