It symbolizes, especially for us Canadians, a clean slate, a fresh start, an empty canvas waiting for some artistry.
There’s nothing like the moments just after the Zamboni has left the ice, just before the skates of everyone from little boys and girls to millionaires make their distinctive lines and sounds with their blades.
While the minor and junior hockey seasons are already in full swing, the big guys take to the ice this week for the start of the National Hockey League season.
Call us lemmings if you like, drag out the cynicism and mistaken-priority points if it makes you feel better. Talk about overgrown boys playing a game for millions of dollars while others go hungry or wars wage in parts of the globe. For a few hours today at least, we’d rather think of the optimism, the pure joy, a clean slate of ice and a new season of the greatest game on earth brings.
As a community newspaper, we spent time at Oceanside Place, enjoying the cute ones just finding their feet in the blades to the intensity and skill of the Junior B Generals.
The clean sheet of ice is also a metaphor. The Vancouver Canucks, for example, are starting a new chapter with a new voice at the helm for the first time in almost a decade. The fiery John Tortorella is the new coach, a dramatically different character from the former bench boss, Alain Vigneault.
While there is much talk about Tortorella’s combative history with the media and star players, in the end it’s all about winning in the NHL. And not just in the regular season, when stars like the Sedins have a little more space in the less-intense grind of the long schedule. No, it’s about the Stanley Cup, and while we don’t believe this group of Canucks has what it takes — that window for this collection of players may be closed — stranger things have happened. At least they are still in the conversation for the Holy Grail of hockey, which is more than what many other clubs can say.
Closer to home, the Generals are already a fifth of the way through their season, but they are also looking at a clean slate, a fresh start, after a coaching change this past weekend (see today’s sports section).
Yes, there are many more important issues, but we ask your indulgence today as we enjoy the optimism of the unscarred ice.
— Editorial by John Harding