Friday, 21 February 2014


What my friend Dave knew, when he sent me a Dave Hutchinson hockey card years ago, was that Hutchinson was my kind of player—a stay-at-home defenceman, as the polite term goes, with zero offensive skills, a big body and a long stick (handy in the old NHL for tugging on whatever skated by). Thought to be a gentle giant off the ice, I was, let’s face it, a goon once the puck dropped. In my best NHL season, my stat line would have looked like this: 1 goal, 7 assists, 354 minutes in penalties.

(That one goal? I jumped on the ice during a line change and found myself breaking in alone on the goalie, who fell (over) for my flail move, letting the puck trickle across the line.)

That all brings me here, to O’Gillins Irish Pub in Lisbon on the afternoon of the two Olympic hockey semi-finals. Right now, early in the 2nd of SWE-FIN, the Fins have scored—the puck trickling over the line on a goof by the Swedish goalie, Lundquist—and fans from both sides are gripping their Guinesses tightly.

I might stick around or leave and come back for CAN-USA at 5:00.

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