Tumbleweeds. Crickets. Horses eat one another. Somewhere, a dog barks …

Remember all that freaky stuff in Act Two of MacBeth? – oops, sorry. The Scottish play?

Horses eating one another? Something about an owl handing a falcon its arse*? I seem to remember my high school English teacher patiently explaining that old Shakey was setting up that unnatural things were about to happen, getting the audience on the edge of their Globe Theatre seats.

The crappy non-hockey view at our crappy non-hockey apartment in Coathanger City. Pic: Some rockstar-looking guy.

Well, last night was a similarly unnatural evening. A Wednesday night without hockey. Classes finished with last Wednesday’s Game Night, and here we were, rookies without an ice date.

It was as horrific as you’d imagine. I had been in Sydney since Sunday, doing the meetings thing, and saying hi to a few good friends who live in the shadow of the Giant Coathanger. I’d taken a guitar north, to give back to Katey, who had lent it to me a year or so ago, and so felt like a (completely fraudulent) rock star, wandering out of the airport and around Sydney lugging a guitar case. (No, dear readers, I can’t play guitar for shit.) The good news was that the faux rockster act seemed to work at the very tall apartment block we were staying in and I got an upgrade to the 73rd floor, which is not far off the highest point in the city.

So life was good until Wednesday, when I flew home (now guitarless and therefore status-down) and hit a hockeyless Melbourne wasteland.

I won’t bore you with the gnashing-teeth details of my desolate evening. The welcoming hug from my gal after days apart. The offered glass of great red wine. The dinner cooked for me. The laughter. The foot rub. The cool French music (Melanie Pain – look her up. Ex-Nouvelle Vague) … any hockey player knows that none of this could possibly console the absence of two hours of bruising intermediate and dev league action, right?

Tomorrow is enrolment day, which remains probably the most traumatic day of the entire hockey calendar, pre-term. It’s the day where all of Melbourne’s hockey students have to poise, finger twitching, over their PC for hours, waiting for the Icehouse to open registrations for the next term. There are nowhere near enough spots for everybody who wants to do the classes, let alone dev league. I’ll be finger-twitching for myself, Big Cat and Mack Nyquist, the third member of our future all-Place line (eat your heart out, Hansons).

And then what? Keep endlessly trawling Red Wings fansites and Detroit media for any news about free agency breakthroughs or other good news to somehow offset the unbearable loss of Nik Lidstrom, Brad Stuart and maybe Tomas Holmstrom? Play some street hockey with Big Cat and Mackquist? See if Alex is up for a puck lunch, where we whack pucks at one another in the office car park? Go to the gym? Box? See if I can remember how to run 6 km or more? Maybe even break the back of the second draft of my detective novel, which is currently handing my creative arse to me even more than an owl to a Shakespearean falcon*?

But alas, no hockey classes until the week of July 16 or something … and so there is time to be filled, especially on a Wednesday. Brendan Parsons beat me to publishing a photo of the bizarre Edmonton Swastikas, so that’s one diverting Google-search out of the way, damnit.

But there are plenty of other Google-inspired ways to kill time in a non-hockey week:

What does it mean when your team’s coach is Mike Babcock, and a Detroit schoolkid called Michael Babcock gets invited along to the Wings’ prospect camp?

Why doesn’t the Australian media get to report local sports officials saying things like trading a future hall of famer was my greatest screw-up ever?

Did the makers of the film, “The Gay Blades” envisage that their hopefully timeless classic might take on a different hue by a new millennium?

Why did this picture end up in Google images on a “Gay Blades” search?

How did anybody survive before helmets? (and how beautiful is this photo?)

OK, I’ll stop. Better take my inlines down to Lorne on the weekend. I’m getting antsy.

* My words, not Shakespeare’s.


  1. Hey thanks for Stuart. San Jose fans will take good care of him. 😉

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