As I sat in the press box of the Revelstoke Grizzlies game last Saturday (Dec. 4), I had a moment to myself before the game call started.
I looked across the rink into a crowd of Grizzlies faithful, and heard them chanting: “I love Kuchaslo, Kuchaslo loves me” to Jozef Kuchaslo, the Grizzlies goaltender.
As an avid European football fan (come on you Spurs), I recognized the chant immediately: a common chant at soccer matches in England.
A good portion of Revelstoke’s young game-going population are English or Australian, bringing their football-fandom traditions and chants to the game of hockey.
Hockey’s time honoured traditions include tossing the caps on the ice after a hat trick, the traditional hockey handshake and growing playoff beards.
But this got me to thinking: What other classic traditions could we borrow from other sports and bring to the game of puck and stick?
In baseball, nothing beats a walk-off home run. Those beautiful moments as the ball hangs in the air, everyone in the stadium holding their breath, watching that ball sail over the fence in what seems like slow motion. The batter who sent it there making the victory lap around the bases, the feeling of euphoria, a hero’s moment.
Well, as thank-you for the incredible, rare play that ended the game, teammates will almost always deliver to that player an extra special treat: a fresh cream pie straight to the face.
Hockey also has a game-ending play: the overtime goal.
There’s a perfect opportunity for the hero to get a pie straight to the dome.
Exchanging of the jerseys
In hockey, the only way a player will get the jersey off another is by pulling it over his head before delivering a few swift uppercuts.
In soccer, players exchange jerseys after a game to show sportsmanship and mutual respect between two players.
Now, I’m not advocating for the end of fisticuffs or animosity between rivals, but the jersey exchange is a great way for two teams to show their admiration for making the trip to their barn.
The Lambeau Leap
As a Chicago Bears fan, this pains me to say, but the Lambeau Leap is one of the coolest traditions in the NFL.
Invented by Green Bay Packers safety LeRoy Butler when he scored against the LA Raiders in December 1993, it’s been a tradition for the Packers to jump into the Lambeau stands after scoring a touchdown.
Here’s what I’m proposing: the Flight at the Forum. We install a retractable portion of glass that, when a Grizzlies player scores, comes down to let the lads leap into the stands.
The Packers are still a bunch of cheese-heads in my books, but I’ve got to give it up to them on this one.
Made famous by the New Zealand Rugby team the All Blacks, the haka is one of the most intimidating rituals in sport.
The haka is a type of ceremonial Maori dance or challenge, performed in a group to display a tribe’s pride, strength, and unity.
The action includes foot-stomping, sticking out the tongue and body-slapping accompanied by a loud chant.
The haka is performed by the All Blacks, and the New Zealand women’s rugby team, the Black Ferns, in order to honour their cultural roots and traditions.
I’m not saying hockey players should perform the haka, but the idea of a performance of strength, a show of respect to the culture of the community, seems like a good way to involve the fans and intimidate an opposing team.