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Until four weeks ago, I was convinced no one still liked hockey except my ex, "Boston Bill," and Canada (in this case, Michigan is considered part of Canada).
But ladies be gettin' hockey fever! WHY? The playoffs last longer than the regular season, so if you're trying to connect with a dude who's into the game, I admire the work and effort you've put forth so far.
There is still an entire week or two left (Right? Maybe more? I honestly have no clue). How do you approach this delicate time if you're like me-- and just getting into the game?
Conveniently keep this breakdown open on the internet tab of your phone, and pull it up if there is a wireless connection available. Or, take several screenshots of this and revisit it your photo app during times of desperation. In the bathroom during beer/Tim Hortons commercials.
What is hockey?
Hockey is a game where a bunch of heavily-clothed dudes skate around with L-shaped sticks, chase a teeny puck* and try to slam it into those "net" things you'd knock over or get tangled up in when your mom made you play sports as a child.
There are 3 periods, which is uneven and makes me anxious, lasting 20 minutes each. It is nicknamed "the fastest game on earth," which is kind of smart-funny. It's a play on words. I like that, Hockey. You cute.
*Puck: not the guy from The Real World: San Francisco-turned father of 7-chicken farmer.
You will want to cheer, say "awwww, come ON!" and nod approvingly at penalty calls when everyone else does. Just follow suit; it's easier that way. I have tried to understand what is and is not considered a penalty for 17 years, and it's left me more confused about reality than ever.
Who are the teams?
The Chicago Blackhawks (B-Hawks, Blackbirds, Hawks) and the Boston Bruins (B's, Big Bad Bruins, The Black and Gold, Bears, Spoked B, Spokes). Your inappropriate uncle most likely has inappropriate names for both teams that he uses after tossing back a few Old Milwaukee Lights, so let’s just move on.
When do I ask questions about the game?
There is never an appropriate time to ask questions during an important game. The only pertinent question is “do you want more wings?” and his answer will always be “yes.”
What do I wear to watch a hockey game?
You will gain wicked-mad respect if you wear a jersey (not pink) that is over-sized. Trust me, ladies. Looking like the dude you're trying to make it with says you're serious about the game, not him. I don't know why, but guys dig that. Once I wore a pair of spikes to an Oakland Raiders game (that's American football) and got offered lots of drugs and a free gang membership.
Which reminds me...
Football season is a mere 86 days away. If you don't have a hockey jersey, wear jeans and an appropriately colored top (Bruins - black with gold accents/accessories, Blackhawks - black, sub red for gold). It's financially smarter to prep for football season than to start purchasing hockey gear so late in the game.
What if my team loses?
A team will lose; this is inevitable. If “yours” is the team that loses, look around. How is everyone else responding? What do they look like? If the answer is "embarrassing themselves by crying/throwing hats/downing several shots/yelling at passersby," be the better person and choose a different tactic. You're a strong, awesome female shoulder to lean on in their time of need. You could give two shits anyway-- thisis truly the moment you've been waiting for.
Nikki Pierce (@nikkinikkp) is an actor, writer, and dancer/choreographer currently living in Chicago. She regularly performs at several storytelling and comedy shows around the city and, if interested, you can properly stalk the rest of her work at nikki-pierce.com or nikki-pierce.tumblr.com.