NHL.com: The fat lady

Here’s my latest on nhl.com. Or actually, here, or below.


The fat lady didn’t sing

Inspired by my own story about David, the Australian hockey newbie – how’s that for being easily impressed by myself – I emailed an older friend of mine about going to a game. I was 100-percent sure that he’d never been to a game so I was a little surprised when he said he’d love to go to a game again.

True, he’d been to a game once before but it had been a long time.

Just to give you an idea how long a time, consider this: The last time he was at a hockey game, he saw it at Chicago Stadium. It was demolished in 1995. My friend had been there in the early 1970s when “it was packed with people, and I was eating hot dogs.”

So, yes, it had been about 35 years, give or take a few years, since his last hockey game. (And the Blackhawks fans were already then getting tired of waiting for a Cup victory.)

The Stockholm Globe Arena was about half full – we were in a positive state of mind – as the local Djurgarden played its final home game of the regular season. The opponent, Linkoping, had also secured a playoff spot so there wasn’t a great intensity in the game.

I pointed out my favorite players on the teams, gave my friend the back story of the game, got myself a hot dog, and leaned back to take in the atmosphere in that great arena when my friend said: “I was at the opera last night, and I thought it’d be fun to see how hockey is similar to that.”

Well, believing that hockey is the metaphor for everything, I was sure that we’d come up with a grand theory about hockey and opera as well.

Yes, a hockey game can be great drama, with all the heroes and villains, the good, the bad, and the ugly. The characters (and man, are there ever characters in a hockey) go through their trials and tribulations on their way to the victory. And if “drama” is derived from the Greek word for “action,” and it is, what better drama is there than a, say, playoffs game?

Hockey even has three acts, built-in, and more plot twists than a Jerry Bruckheimer movie, in one shift, or even a season of “24.” Not that I’ve seen an opera version of “24” anywhere.

The costumes are colorful, the performers’ movements take the story forward, and some of the stories are classics. For this, please see Game 3 of Canada Cup 1987. The stars are stars for a good reason, but without the supporting cast, there will be no show.

Sure. But, not really what opera is about, right?

I took another bite of my hot dog, looked at my friend, and then blurted out the only thing I truly had come up with during my moment of meditation.


He looked at me, and very politely said, “Well, let’s see what I can come up with after the game.”

I’m glad I didn’t say “the organ,” although he might have remembered that from the old Chicago Stadium.

Let it suffice to say that opera is to me what hockey is to my friend. I’ve only been to the opera once, and it was 15 years ago. I remember being surprised that the show was in Italian, and that there were no hot dogs.

Go Figaro!

How does that make you feel?