As a Canadian, even if you never watch and don’t care, you’ve probably got an opinion about Don Cherry or a vague idea of how long it has been since “The Leafs” last won “The Cup”.
And so it was for me this morning around the breakfast table: apparently the Montreal Canadiens are playing their first “Home” game tonight against their arch-rivals the Boston Bruins. This particular game has further, increased significance due to the fact that Montreal defeated “The Bruins” (3-1) in “The Playoffs” in “Game Seven” at the end of last season. These hockey factoids, which even a (Canadian) non-fan is likely to be familiar with, evoke impressions of vindictive Boston players plotting and planning revenge from gyms and golf courses all over the continent, all summer, in preparation for the first opportunity to face “The Habs” once again.
Even as a self-confessed non-fan of the game, I happen to know that Todd Devonshire would not have been happy about Boston’s recent (painful) loss to Montreal. Todd grew up in Big River, smack-dab in the middle of Saskatchewan, which is smack-dab in the middle of Canada (locations are estimated) and he is a fanatic Boston fan. I also happen to know that his entire family are Boston fans. He explains it all at some point in his book Rink Burgers; why an entire Canadian family would be possessed by rabid Boston fandom in the middle of the Canadian prairies. It’s all explained there, more or less.
Rink Burgers is a great read. It gets very cold in Big River in the winter and Todd used to play a lot of hockey as a kid. Everybody did. Most people still do. In a cold climate, if you are not entertaining yourself on the “Ice Hockey” Rink, then you are probably on the Curling Rink (which is often in the same building). Somewhere in that building is likely (almost for sure, 100%) a purveyor of “Fast” food and beverages. That’s where you find rink burgers.
Rink Burgers is a perfect name for a book about hockey memories (Todd returns to his boyhood home to retrieve all the hockey mementos he promised his parents he would pick up some day). Rink Burgers evokes the smell of fried onions, hot coffee and way-too brightly coloured condiments, and that oil they use for french fries. It evokes the distinct echos and sounds of the hockey rink. It evokes the thick paint on the back of “The Boards” and the cinder block dressing rooms, and the “puck” smudges on “The Glass”. As Todd takes us through the treasures of a hockey-obsessed youth in a hockey-obsessed town, and explains to his patient and generous wife Dawn his (dare I say) love for “The Bruins” and his unique relationship with Guy Lafleur, we get an impression, some glimpses and hints, about why Canadians know about hockey and why even Canadians that don’t like hockey, know about hockey.
Hamburgers and hockey seem to go together: here is a post that Judy did awhile back on a favourite burger/hockey-watching joint in Toronto’s Bloor West Village called Shakey’s.