Hockey’s regular season is officially over, and you were starting to get into it, weren’t you? You’d finally figured out what it meant when someone blocked a goal with a windmill or scored a goal through the five-hole (between the goalie’s legs). Maybe you’d locked in your carpool pals and the best route to the bar afterward.
Not to worry — there’s no need for despair. We’re here to help you get through the next few months until the regular season starts again. Here are a few tips.
First, find your hockey people. Hockey fans and players are truly unique humans. Sarah Calabria, a network tech for Comcast who lives in North Seattle is one such person. She has Kraken season tickets, and she plays goalie for several teams including the Wolves, Black Sheep, and Warriors. She says that meeting different people is the part of playing hockey that she likes best.
“I love hanging out with the guys and having a beer or two after the game,” Calabria says. “There are so many different personalities and people I never would have met without hockey. There’s an IT guy and a construction worker, a car salesman and someone who’s high up at Microsoft. It brings all of us together.”
In the offseason, you can find some fellow Kraken fans at the Canadian-themed hockey bar, The Angry Beaver, in Greenwood. They’ve got the usual sports-bar fare like wings and beer and real, genuine Canadian foods, like poutine.
While you’re there maybe you can brush up on your hockey lingo. Do you know what a pass with sauce is? It’s when the puck is lifted off the ice. Cambria says calling someone a pigeon is the gravest of insults. It means they’re no good and when you use the term it’s called chirping.
“I don’t know how it all came about,” Calabria says. “But hockey players cuss like sailors so it’s kind of awesome to be mean without being dirty.”
Something else to keep in mind is that professional hockey isn’t the only way to go. In addition to the National Hockey League, where Seattle’s Kraken belong, there’s also the Western Hockey League, the feeder league to the NHL and home to the Seattle Thunderbirds and the Everett Silvertips. Get to know these other teams and plan to add some of their games to your schedule.
You should also know that the Iceplex isn’t the only ice rink around. You can visit Highland Ice Arena in Shoreline and Sno-King in Kirkland. All the rinks run their own learn-to-skate and/or learn-to-play programs. There are, of course, plenty of hockey summer camps for kids so maybe you can watch your own kid play. No kids, no problem. You can learn to play! If anything, it’ll be a chance to try something new, loosen up and have fun. Or maybe you’ll find broomball is more your style.
There is also a female hockey association called the Seattle Women’s Hockey Association that helps make sure women can play in a welcoming environment. They run regular programs to help introduce women and girls to the sport.
Finally, maybe you can take some time this summer to research Seattle’s hockey history and traditions. Instead of throwing souvenir pucks or hockey sticks into the rows closest to the ice postgame, Kraken players toss plush fish to fans behind the glass (which the team ensured, through Indigenous consultants, wouldn’t be offensive or culturally insensitive).
“In Detroit, they throw an octopus on the ice,” Calabria says. “When they started doing this, it took eight wins for a team to win the Stanley Cup and an octopus has eight legs so … Now it takes more than eight wins, but they keep the tradition alive.”
In 1980, the New York Islanders began their tradition of not shaving once the playoffs were underway. By the time they reached the end, most of their players had full beards.
What unique kind of flair will Seattleites bring to the ice this next year? Maybe you’ll be the one to decide. If nothing else, it’ll help pass the time until the Kraken plays again.
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