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Teena Spencer knows from personal experience what it is to live through those months of hockey mania and endless weeks of playoff insanity, when your partner is sprawled on the couch, knocking back beer and yelling at the TV. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em, she decided and proceeded to learn the ins and outs of this increasingly popular game.
In The Girlfriend's Guide to Hockey, Teena Spencer illuminates the arcane language of the sport (butt-ending and chippy play), the rules (icing), and the rituals (octopus throwing). It's all here: the teams, the history, the top players, and the trivia, written with clarity and humor. There are details on women's hockey, too.
With her colorful ancecdotes and simple, direct style, this is the ultimate guide for any woman new to the game and the traditions that accompany it. The Girlfriend's Guide to Hockey is Teena Spencer's answer to hockey-dread.
"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.
Teena Spencer is a converted fan and like a rapidly growing group of women around the world has come to know and love the game of hockey. She lives in New Brunswick with her husband and fellow hockey fan. After completing this book, Teena discovered hockey isn't played every day, so she was forced to tackle American football in the companion volume The Girl Friend's Guide to Football.
Will Ferguson is a regular writer on hockey for The Globe and Mail and the Toronto Star.
Bruce Spencer is a life-long hockey fan and a devoted husband, in that order.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
Hockey in the Bedroom
Ice hockey has traditionally been a male domain -- from fans to players to coaches, "a guy thing." But the last few years have seen a surprising demographic shift. More women than ever are watching -- and playing -- hockey In the words of Chatelaine magazine, "the secret -- jealously, guarded by boys and men for close to a century -- is out: hockey is the most fun going."
It's true, and I should know. I'm one of those newly drafted female fans. My passion for hockey didn't light up the sky immediately. I had a healthy hatred of the game to overcome first. Newfoundland humorist Ray Guy called hockey a pestilence that was "nasty, boring, pernicious, deadening, silly, obnoxious, tedious." Televised hockey, said Guy, "turns a large proportion of the population into gibbering idiots for six months of the year." I couldn't have agreed more.
Then hockey invaded my bedroom.
When I first met Bruce, I thought I had discovered the perfect mate: sensitive, caring, artistic, sexy. He was a metalsmith like myself, he believed in equality, he even had a ponytail. We fell in love and everything was wonderful -- until one fateful evening in spring.
I called Bruce and asked if he wanted to take a romantic stroll along the riverside. "I'd love to," he said. "But I can't. The playoffs are starting."
"Montreal and New York. Opening game. Why don't you grab some beer and come over?"
I was horrified. It was like discovering your best friend was a spy for the other side. Instead of spending a quiet evening awash in romantic ambiance, we sat in his room, watching a hockey game. As Bruce yelled at the refs and knocked back the beer, I asked myself -- as thousands of girlfriends and wives ask themselves every year -- "What's the big deal about hockey?"
To me, the game seemed chaotic. Nothing made any sense. The referees were constantly blowing their whistles, the puck skidded along a random path, and then -- for no obvious reason -- a fight would break out. It looked like the stupidest sport on earth.
A few months later, Bruce asked me to marry him. Instead of simply being ecstatic, I had some reservations. One of them was a season ticket for front-row television viewing of testosterone-driven hockey players charging up and down the ice. It chilled my enthusiasm.
"Bruce," I said. "About this affection you have for hockey."
"Greatest game on earth!" he said, as if that was all the explanation needed.
I knew then I had a choice to make. Bruce would never give up hockey and I would never give up Bruce. Either I was going to spend a lot of time clenching my jaw and muttering under my breath, or I could learn something about the game. But when I set out to teach myself the basics, I was soon disappointed. There were no books that explained the rudiments of hockey in terms that an average uninitiated adult -- or a woman with a mission -- would understand.
But, I persisted, and after wading through dozens of bulky hockey encyclopedias, watching countless games, and faithfully reading the next days' sports pages, I slowly began to understand how hockey works. I also enlisted the help of my dear friend Will Ferguson, a writer and a hockey afficionado. Will and Bruce had been holding hockey round-table discussions (which I usually daydreamed through) since we had met. The more the three of us talked about the games we watched, the more I enjoyed and understood them. I could now spot a bad call or a delayed penalty. I could tell a clean check from a dirty one. I even understood the blue-line rule -- something a lot of die-hard fans still haven't figured out. What I had been dismissing for years as a "guy thing" revealed itself as an intricate sport of strategy and speed. I never did learn to accept the fighting, but, over time, I began to enjoy the game every bit as much as did Bruce and Will.
Bruce and I are married now, and the playoffs are greatly anticipated around our house. We move the TV into the bedroom and watch the games late into the night, yelling ourselves hoarse and jumping up and down on the bed. After the game we are too excited to sleep, and since we are already in bed ...
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