Canadian lawmaker David Adams Richards delivered an impassioned speech on the senate floor Tuesday about a subject he finds gravely important. Not foreign policy or fiscal policy or social policy. Hockey commentator policy.
As Richards, an acclaimed novelist, sees it, Americans have ruined hockey announcing by imposing their own vocabulary on the game, inspiring Candians to imitate them. Via the National Post:
Whatever happened to “dipsy-doodling,” a Canadian phrase he said came from knowing “the motion of the ice”? It’s hockey sweaters, not jerseys. Dressing rooms, not locker rooms, he said.
“We didn’t deny a shot; we actually saved it. We didn’t delay at the blue line; we stopped at the blue line. Nor did we take a wrister. What an insulting word. We took a wrist shot. Nor did we take a slapper. What an insulting word. We took a slapshot — and not the movie,” Richards recited. “And none of us from about the age of six months on ever needed a laser beam to follow a puck.”
Calling the phrases “odious,” he accused American hockey commentators of having “no respect for millions of Canadians” who love the game.
“Tragically, Canadians are often forced to listen to American play-by-play commentators if we want to watch U.S.-based teams in the first or second round,” he said. “I know, my fellow senators, that all of this seems petty, but nothing is petty about our game, nor the language we used to illuminate it. Our language enhanced and enriched every aspect of the play because our commentators actually knew what was happening on the ice.”
If you’re a Canadian above the age of 60 who thinks and cares deeply about language or has a deep sentimental attachment to 1960s hockey broadcasts, maybe you agree with Richards. If not, you likely think he’s an old man yelling at clouds. Either way, his speech certainly seems to have broken up the monotony of trivial subjects such as Canada’s plans for preventing a nuclear Iran.
In case you want to hear his rant, here you go (via Deadspin).
For what it’s worth, the National Post’s Chris Selley tweeted Wednesday in response to Richards’ comments that the first use of “wrister” in the Globe and Mail came in 1974, while the first use of “slapper” was back in 1959, when Adams was nine years old.
First use of "wrister" in the Globe and Mail was Nov. 21, 1974: "Leafs fail to respond to Ballard's criticism, lose to Penguins 8-6." First use of "slapper" was Jan. 12, 1959: "Mapole Leafs play 6-6 deadlock against Red Wings." pic.twitter.com/YUniUrEqs3
— Chris Selley (@cselley) May 2, 2018
Also, the broadcasters who call the Stanley Cup Finals for Canada’s CBC (Jim Hughson and Craig Simpson) were both born and raised in Canada, as were the rest of CBC’s commentators, so it’s not as if Richards is forced to listen to Americans blather about hockey all the time. You’d think for a couple of rounds, in some but not all series, he’d be able to handle it. But apparently not.
According to the National Post, Richards was cut off before finishing his remarks Tuesday because his allotted time had elapsed.