University of Hockey

TORONTO – OMNI Television is offering new Canadians the opportunity to create their own hockey traditions with “Hockey Night in Canada: Punjabi Edition”, “Your Hockey” weekly segments, and “Hockey 101” …[that answers] basic questions that many new fans may be too afraid to ask, such as “What is icing?” and “What is holding?”
– Rogers media release, September 24, 2014

Dear student of hockey,

Welcome to Hockey 101! We’re thrilled to tell you that you have been accepted into the OMNI program in which we’ll study the game of hockey, and look for answers to questions you may have been too afraid to ask.


As Canadian – by citizenship or simply mentality – you’re one of those people who have a hockey puck woven into his identity. Even if you’ve never frozen your ears off on a frozen pond in the backyard of your house, we all share the fascination and admiration we have for the men and women who step on to a cold and slippery surface wearing boots that have sharp, 0.3-centimeter wide blades attached to them, to chase a 170-gram disk that’s 2.54 centimeters thick and 7.62 centimeters in diameter and made of vulcanized rubber, using a wooden stick in their hands, while also trying to keep the disk from five other people on the same slippery surface, all the while traveling at 25 kilometers per hour.

The OMNI program will look at different aspects of the game, from physics to philosophy, from chemistry to poetry in five one-hour lessons you can also easily download and study at home.

Lesson 1: What is holding?

Lesson material includes interviews and discussion, led by Professor Semenko:

“Not once or twice have did I find myself sitting on the bench in the penalty box, staring out onto the ice, thinking: “What is holding?” I’ve sat on the bench in the locker room, with a towel over my head, thoughts going around and around in my head: ‘What is icing? What is hooking?’, and ‘Roughing? What is it … really?'”

Lesson 2: Chemistry

There are also things around the game that can widen our understanding of the world and life – for instance, the smell of the gloves. What is it? What makes them smell the way they do, and how can that one smell feel so good to one person and yet make his spouse vomit? What is smell?

Ice itself is a reminder of how two things can have the same molecular structure, and yet not be the same. But, why is ice less dense than water if both are made up of molecules of H2O? We’ll study different kinds of ice, and blow off some steam.

Lesson 3: Philosophy

Hockey may, at first glance, seem like a simple game, but for the real students of the game, it’s the metaphor of life itself, a universe onto itself, wrapped inside the puck.

We’ll study works of great coaches, such as the great Danish hockey coach Søren Kierkegaard, who once said, “During the first period of a man’s life the greatest danger is not to take the risk.”

We’ll discuss that, and whether he was being too bold, considering a game lasts three periods. We’ll also study different approaches to forechecking, and whether Kierkegaard’s bold take applies to both home and away games.

Is it better to have hooked and lost than never to have hooked at all?
Is the puck round or is it flat? Can something be flat and round at the same time?

Lesson 4: Poetry and words of wisdom

Toward the end of the program, you’ll get a chance to delve into the teachings of the great poets and thinkers of the game – our masters, and teachers.

Required reading:
The works of the 20th century radical behaviorist Herbert P. Brooks. For example his poem, “Again”, from 1979.

Again! Again! Again!

It even looks like a hockey stick, but what does it mean?

Another great hockey thinker, W.B. Yeats, wrote in 1919, in the early days of hockey, that “Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold”. According to Yeats what was the cause and what was the effect? Did things fall apart after the center’s slack attitude towards defense, or was the center stopped from holding, because the defense fell apart?

Included in this section is a look at defensive systems throughout the years.

Lesson 5: Mathematics

Hockey 101 will also take a look inside advanced mathematics, to be able to truly grasp the game.

Required reading:
“Ninety percent of hockey is mental and the other half is physical” by Wayne D. Gretzky (1988).

We’re very excited to have you onboard, and we hope Hockey 101 will help you understand the game, and life, a little better.

Those attending the class with no prior knowledge of Punjabi have an opportunity to take our Punjabi 101 class before attending Hockey 101.

You may be interested to know, for example, that there is no word for “puck” in Punjabi.

Because …what is a puck – really?

Welcome, and good luck,

Robert G Bore,
Hockey 101

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