If you haven’t heard by now, an athlete from the Gaelic Games was sent over to spend some time with the Canucks this season, to see how things compared between the two endeavors. It’s like Wife Swap, but with sports.
Enter Lee Chin, a hurler from the Gaelic Games. If you’re like me, and curious what “hurling” is, one person described it as “a cross between field hockey and murder.”
Which is why it was a bit surprising to find out that Lee Chin was taken aback by his time spent with hockey.
Highlights of the article include Lee’s shock that the Canucks drink beer the day before a game, and the Canucks usage of the age old “slump buster”, here called a “change up”, where a player gets wasted and tries to get laid, in order to break a scoring slump.
Now, being the investigative journalist I am, I knew there was more to this story. This felt like it was just the tip of the ice berg. So I reached out to my contacts, and I got more of Lee Chin’s stories. You thought “change ups” were the most salacious thing to come out of his time here? Wait until you see the rest.
1.) “They had this thing where coach would blow a whistle and each guy would ditch his gear, lather up in oil and start barking like a dog. They called this “moon shining”. Once they oiled up they’d pair off and put on a helmet and charge straight at each other, trying to knock the other guy out with their head.
They had this little guy, looked a bit like an elf ain’t he, Tony Stretcher I think. He was small, but he was knocking guys out left and right. Ended up winning the whole bloody thing. They presented him with a crown after he won, and then them creepy Twins recited Swedish limericks in his honor. But like, deeply personal ones. You could tell they did their research and put a lot of effort into them. At one point this one bloke, Jason Megaman I think, just starts bawling his eyes out. It was quite moving now that I think about it.
Then Stretcher was allowed to pick the warmup music. “Moon shining” was just so they could pick the music for warm up. Bit of a shocker, ain’t it. We usually just hit random play on our ipod.”
2.) “After each practice was over, their coach would line up each player and tell them the good things they’d done, and the bad. It seemed pretty normal, if a bit excessive. Then when coach gets to this Megaman guy, he just looks at him and hugs him. Starts crying. Coach won’t let go of him. At one point it gets hard to tell who is hugging harder, Megaman or the Coach. And this goes on for 11 minutes and 14 seconds, give or take the minute it took me to realize something weird was going down.
So they just hug and the rest of the team just watches. Nobody tells them to move it along. We all just watch. Coach is whispering “never leave me!” and Megaman is all “I’ll never leave you.” and this goes on for near 12 minutes.
Finally they stop hugging and coach and Megaman high five each other, and coach moves to the next guy. I’m wondering what’s going to happen next, like, is this escalating to new heights, what else will we see. Next guy, Coach just straight up rears his foot back and punts the guy right in the tallywacker. Guy goes down like he’s been shot, he’s puking left and right. Coach stands over him and tells him he needs to “earn his ice time” and then screams at him “where’s your car now, bitch!”. Poor fella ruined his nice hair with puke. Golden Robin I think his name was.”
3.) “I met their President, real chipper fella, name of Trevor Linden. He seemed normal enough, but he wouldn’t stop eating granola bars. I mean, not just “oh he had 2 or 3 a day” I mean, he had 2 or 3 every 5 minutes. Bloke wouldn’t stop eating them. Double fisted them left and right. You’d talk to him, and you’d want to keep eye contact, but you couldn’t help but stare at all that granola that he was eating. He’d offer you a bar, but you could tell from the tone of his voice, he wasn’t actually offering.”
4.) “We were all at lunch when their Managing Officer Jim Benning comes to join us. We’re at some fancy steak place named after Batman’s home city, and Jim looks at the menu and just announces “Do they have steak here?” and everyone laughs and laughs. And I mean laughs. And this goes on for a couple of minutes, people laughing at this joke. Except their eyes, they ain’t smiling. Eventually one player stands up and begins applauding. Soon everyone is standing up, applauding, and whistling and clapping. I’m like “What the hell is going on here” but I just keep clapping because maybe this is some weird Canadian tradition and I don’t want to offend anyone.
Jim is sitting back looking right pleased with his self, when suddenly his face gets real angry. I look around, wondering what could cause it, and I can’t figure it out. Then I see him glaring at some bloke who sat down and stopped clapping. People gasp, and I mean it’s an audible gasp, right out of some sort of sitcom, and everyone looks over at this guy who sat down. This guy is taking a selfie of himself for Instagram.
Wouldn’t you know it, it’s that Golden Robin fella. Coach Willie comes charging out of nowhere, like, he wasn’t even at dinner with us so I still have no idea how he was there so fast, and punts this guy right in the ball sack yet again. Guy falls over, pukes left and right. Coach orders a “Knuckleball” and all of a sudden everyone starts punching and kicking this Golden kid, chanting in unison “Kill the pig! Bash him in! Earn your ice time”.
Then the Sedins read a really morose limerick to him. But again, it was really really good, assuming you could ignore the puking, bleeding guy on the ground.”
5.) “On my last day there, I was saying goodbye to the lads, and I was going to swap jerseys with Bo Horvat, a young kid who seemed to be quite good at his job. I got along quite well with him. So I’m trading jerseys with him when Coach comes in the room. Coach yells out “Give me a curveball” and Bo just walks away from me, stops our conversation dead in its tracks. Found it a bit rude, yeah, but he walks over to the middle of the room. All the players are standing in a circle now. They all take out beers and shotgun them in the room and I’m thinking “they have a game in an hour, this seems crazy” but they’re shotgunning beers left and right. Then someone puts on the soundtrack to Grease, and these guys are singing along to Grease. Hutton is singing Summer Nights with Tryamkin, and this giant man is nailing the falsetto parts. Blew me away.
Then they finish up the song and head back to their stalls. Keep getting geared up. Horvat talks to me like nothing happened.
That was probably the most normal thing that happened during my time with them.
Then when I left, the Sedins read a really nice limerick to me.
Good lads, the bunch of them, but I don’t think they know the science behind a lot of things.”