Ahhh…Boxing Day. Of all the days in the amorphous creature known as the Christmas “Season”, Boxing Day may well be my favourite.
The crazed, manic run up to Christmas is behind us, the broken corpses of those clueless jacktards who dared get in our way at the mall safely buried in the shallow unmarked graves they so richly deserved, there to be gently gnawed upon by woodland creatures. All of the presents have been unwrapped, the hairy aunts kissed, the handsy second cousins banished, the feasts feasted. Boxing Day marks the end of all of that. Our only obligation on Boxing Day is to loll about on the couch and sweat cranberry sauce. The fact that it falls on a Sunday this year totally doubles its inherent awesomeness. Six hours of football followed by cold turkey sandwiches and the inevitable curbstomp of our Senators at the hands of the unstoppable Hockey Jesus and the Pittsburgh Penguins. It will be fucking glorious. Beloved may have to check me for bedsores between periods.
There is one other thing about Boxing Day that gets my gravy encrusted track pants all tenty. The IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship.
Like Boxing Day itself, the WJHC, while not strictly a Canadian thing, is very much a Canadian thing. Nobody makes as big a deal out of this tournament as we do. No other country on the planet pays attention to a bunch of fresh faced kids playing for nothing other than the crest on the front of their jerseys (and maybe a higher draft seed) the way we do. This year it’s being held in Buffalo New York and thus, at least nominally, is a “home” tournament for the Americans. Buffalo is a mere hour’s drive (depending on how friendly the border agents feel like being) from The Golden Horseshoe of southern Ontario. Do you think that’s a coincidence? Fuck. And. No. The IIHF knows exactly where it gets its bread buttered. At last count, 65% of all ticket sales have come from north of the border. For Team Canada’s games, that may be as high as 90%. It’s almost the identical scenario we saw a few years ago when they “hosted” the WJHC in Grand Forks, North Dakota. Buckle up Buffalo. The Canucks are coming to devour your delicious chicken wings, steal your women and pwn your rinks, bitches. Oh yeah. And also take back that which is rightfully ours.
In thirty minutes the puck drops for real, with Canada facing Russia right out of the gate. Not Norway, or Switzerland or any other puff pastry wannabe, but the fucking Russians. Oh hellz ya, bring it.
So let’s put aside, for the moment, all of our collective fretting over the Ottawa Senators, their front office (but for the record…Pierre Maguire as GM is without doubt, the worst fucking idea I’ve ever heard) and whether or not they’ll make the playoffs (hint: Even if they do, who cares? But that’s for next week’s column). Let us instead celebrate Boxing Day in all of its glory by reminding ourselves why we hate the Russians with the blistering white hot heat of a billion suns:
Greatest. World Junior game. Ever.
Happy Boxing Day everyone. Go Canada.