You can hate the hockey bro all you want, but he thrives on conflict. His skin is as thick as the calluses on his feet from not wearing socks like his hero Bobby Orr. His fucked-up face is not only a badge of honor—it’s a mating call personified. In his world, a crooked nose is a straight path to pussy. Any scar and he shan’t be going home solo from the bar. His ignorance is his strength, and when his buddies chirp him for wearing a V-neck or ordering sushi, he laughs it off and says, “My new fag Swedish roommate is rubbing off on me, bro.”
Nothing fazes him, especially not spending a few weeks unemployed on the couch with a growing beard and a shrinking checking account watching his team get booted from the playoffs. Again.
Since the NHL Playoffs are starting soon, it’s time to examine the ingredients that make up this elusive and wild man-beast from the Great White North.
He’s not a big fan of haircuts. Gotta grow the lettuce out to get that sick flow, bro. How else are those hair-wings going to fly out from underneath the sides of his helmet? Cruising on his longboard is one of the rare times you don’t see him sporting Adidas flip-flops with white socks that stretch to mid-calf. Instead, it’s oversized DC skate shoes—to match the hat. Duh. Matching is mad chill, yo.
Nothing is more mad chill than wheelin’ as many hockey groupies—known as Puck Bunnies—as is subhumanly possible. Sup Big Wheel, you hit your slap shot as hard as you hit your Puck Bunnies? He usually gives one of them a lift to the rink in his 2002 Dodge Neon, which is permeated by the stench of unwashed hockey pads. While he’ll wash his Hollister hoodie almost every day—gotta stay fresh—he has never and will never wash his pads, as it’s bad form and bad luck. Despite the stink, the only things dropping faster than his gloves for a fight are her panties in the back of that godforsaken Dodge Neon. He can’t decide whether he likes his Bunnies in yoga pants or nothing but his jersey, and she is content with either.
A hockey jock’s life is rarely rags-to-riches but like most jocks, there’s a lot of calling guys “fags” and girls “bitches.” Usually rich kids, their equipment costs about a grand a season growing up, on top of car maintenance and gas spent driving all over hell (also known as rural Ontario). Rather than the football jock who’s in your face 24/7, or the basketball jock who’s too cool to be in your face at all ever, hockey jocks are like a frozen pond most of the time. He’s a model of dense, stoic Canadian politeness on the surface with a river of violence and misogyny flowing beneath. He’s adored by his girlfriend’s mother while simultaneously abhorred by the so-called puck sluts with whom he faithfully cheats and subsequently ignores.
He is recognized by and evaluated on his chirping skills, which are absolutely paramount both on and off the ice in establishing rank at the rink. A disrespectful chirp will earn respect even from the guy getting disrespected. You’re not worth the shit-tickets your snaggle-tooth girlfriend uses to wipe my cum off her face. They scrap. The dust settles. And they’re back inside the bar: Nice right hook, bud. Thought you were a bender but you’re not half-bad after all. Want a beer?
When disgusting shit isn’t spewing from his mouth, he’s shoveling it in, whether it’s an old mouth guard on the ice, chewing tobacco on the bench, or beef jerky driving home drunk from the bar, this guy risks more DUIs than STIs from unprotected Puck Bunny hookups.
6. The Lexicon
Most of them have names such as Josh, Jordan, or Jeff, forming a “J” pattern synchronized with their jerkoffish jackassery. But that’s inconsequential because their first names are virtually unknown. Their identity is instead cemented through a lazy modification of their last name. Ryan Smith becomes Smitty. Rick Jones devolves into Jonesers. Or Jonesy-boy. Depends on the day, really. The cheap manipulation of names carries over into all facets of the hockey-jock lexicon, where it’s all about anti-clever abbreviations. Celebrating after a goal is called a celly. A slap shot is a clapper. A hat-trick is a hatty. A rookie is a rook. We’re talking HUGE imaginative leaps here. On the other end of this MENSA-level idiolect is straight-up gibberish. Literally. Gibber refers to someone’s shitty teeth, gimmer is a try-hard loser, and giv’er means, well, he’s fuggin’ givin’er! The cacophony of barely intelligible phonemes is understood through caveman-grade context and an innate tribal telepathy.
His terminology is as warped as his morals, but nevertheless they are ingrained in his psyche, more frozen than an Iqaluit shinny pond. For example, there’s no honor in a sucker punch. You make eye contact and a nod of mutual understanding if you’re about to tune someone up. That’s pretty standard. But what’s weird is that feeding someone shots (punches) on the ice often means balancing out the puck universe by feeding that same guy actual shots of booze at the bar. Short memories, long-dick attitudes. No grudges. What happens on the ice stays on the ice, except this “ice” is actually his entire existence.
The arena jock is invisibly but indelibly branded by his favorite NHL team—a pseudo-religious denomination that’s more schismatic than Irish Catholics and British Protestants. Not having a favorite team at all is lower than being a fan of someone’s most hated rival. Below contempt. A hockey heathen. That said, if his team loses, the hockey jock will graciously endure any and all locker room shit-talk. Likewise, he will return the verbal brutality when his bud’s favorite team fucks up.
Speaking well of a rival team is considered to be on par with the Pope having tea with Kim Jong-un. Ultimate diplomacy. A smashing down of barriers. For instance, a Vancouver Canucks fan who hates the Dallas Stars will demonstrate his fair-mindedness by telling everyone, “I hate Dallas, but the Canucks’ Roberto Luongo is the type of guy who will beat you up for looking at his girlfriend, while the Stars’ Tim Thomas would give you a lift to the hardware store and help you build a deck in your backyard without asking for anything in return.” I guess there’s hope for humanity after all.
Before going out to the sports bar, where flat-screen TVs are basically wallpaper, there’s always a pre-drink sesh. We pre-gamin’ at Jerry’s tonight, or is his roommate still being a cunt about having people over? That tiny apartment becomes a tea kettle of pent-up testosterone in no time. Big time. At about the six-beer mark, there’s more bicep comparing and unwarranted high-fiving than you can shake an aluminum Easton stick at. He said farewell to his apartment’s damage deposit a long time ago. They love to regale each other about every other time they’ve hung out like they were subconsciously afraid of giving themselves enough brain damage to erase a lifetime’s worth of experiences. As always, the shitty stories are still there in the morning. Along with the requisite recap text: That was a fucking Gong Show and a half last night. Jared took the cute fatty and left me with the rounded-up 3 to bring home. Count it! The hockey bro can’t just sit and watch a game. He must also deke out invisible opponents on the hardwood floor and rip slap shots against the fridge. But for all the chaos, bros like to set arbitrary limits. Smoke outside, dude—my mom’s visiting tomorrow.