It Happened Again …

So, yesterday, I went on one of my semi-regular trips downtown. I hate parking and driving downtown, so I park at a university about an hour’s walk away and walk down. It’s come to the point where I actually go downtown more for the walk than for anything else.

Anyway, I was wearing my Islanders cap, and I was walking behind a pair of families out for family day. They stopped to cross the street, I guess, and parted to let me by. Now, the two gentlemen in the group had been talking about hockey, it seems, and were I guess talking about how a team was playing, and then one of them said “They’re not doing as good as other teams. They’re certainly not doing as good as the Islanders!”

I was a bit down the street at this point — I walk quickly — and turned around. The guy said “Yeah, that was a shot at you” in a humourous way, and I said right back “No one does as good as the Islanders!” with a grin and a point, nodded, and moved on. Basically, your standard “Good one, no hard feelings” response. Mostly because it would be really hard to in any way bother me criticizing the Islanders.

When it comes to being a hockey fan, I have a number of tiers:

Tier 1 – The team that I cheer for over every other team in the league. For me, this is Ottawa. It used to be Toronto. Yes, there usually is a geographic link to this team, although when I was a kid it really was the Islanders.

Tier 2 – The teams that I’ll cheer for over almost every other team in the league other than the Tier 1 team. For me, this has the Islanders, the Oilers, the Jets, and the Bruins — based on a playoff run when I wasn’t cheering for the Oilers. Maybe the Flames.

Tier 3 – The teams that I have no special attachment to, and that I’ll cheer for or not depending on a number of impossible to quantify factors, likely including what the phase of the moon is and if the TV is facing north. Most of the other teams in the league are here, except for …

Tier 4 – The teams that I will cheer against no matter who they are playing. Montreal used to be here, but then Toronto got into its rivalry with Ottawa and Montreal got some players I liked so they’re Tier 3 pushing Tier 4. It didn’t help Toronto that when they were regularly beating Ottawa in the playoffs Toronto had some of the most annoying players in the league, and an annoying coach. Which is why Vancouver is now flirting with this Tier.

When I was younger, Tier 4 contained two teams: Montreal and whoever Gretzky was playing for. This was during the time that Gretzky’s Kings met the Canadians in the Stanley Cup final. I was very moderately pleased that Montreal won it — I had to show some loyalty to Canada, after all — but I heard about it on the radio in the morning before starting my shift at my summer job at the time; that was the first time ever that I willingly refused to watch the Stanley Cup Finals, because I didn’t care if either team won.

So, if it’s a Toronto/Vancouver final, I may skip it this year, too.

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