Ottawa, ON: Hockey Challenge for “Hockey Prime Minister”
We’ve just arrived in Ottawa and we’re thinking about how Canadian outdoor hockey might relate to Canadian government. And who better to turn to than Her Majesty’s first servant? Mr. Harper, we’ve got a proposition for you.
Last week in the Globe and Mail, Lawrence Martin wrote in his “The Hockey Prime Minister” column that “Mr. Harper is changing the sports-politics dynamic. He is moving big-time into our hockey space. He’s on hockey platforms, promoting the sport, every chance he gets […] And soon, the big deal: He’s bringing out his very own hockey book, a volume on professional hockey in its early days.”
Now, don’t get us wrong, we’re appreciative of Prime Minister Harper’s hockey enthusiasm. But something strikes us as strange: for all his drum-beating hockey populism, we can’t find any evidence that Stephen Harper ever actually plays hockey. In fact, we can’t seem to find anything that indicates that he even, um, knows how to skate.
It is for this reason that we’d like to provide you, Prime Minister Harper, with an opportunity to demonstrate your skills. Mr. Harper, we are challenging you to a game of two-on-two on the outdoor hockey rink. You can bring whoever you like as your second—even John Baird!
Where would you like to play, Mr. Minister? We’re here until Wednesday and we would be happy to host you here in Old Ottawa South at Windsor Park. But, if you’d prefer something closer to 24 Sussex, we could easily make the hike up to the famed skating rink across the street at Rideau Hall. Perhaps His Excellency, Governor General David Johnston, will want to follow in the footsteps of old Lord Stanley and provide some prize money for the winning team. If we win, we could use the money for gas; if you win, you could use it to balance the budget.
In any case, you should look at this as a great opportunity to show your true love for the game. Outdoor hockey isn’t about being a perfect skater or scoring the most goals; even the awkward Michael Ignatieff risked a tumble and went for a skate on the Rideau Canal last year. It is about teamwork, breaking a sweat and being spontaneous. We’d like to offer you the opportunity to do those things!
And after all, we would not want people to think that you’re just feigning passion for one of our national sports as a cheap political device. Perish the thought! Let’s play some hockey and you can show them all!