I can’t help but being irked by the people championing Sarah Palin because she’s a hockey mom. As a long time hockey fan I’ve spent years being mocked and chided for loving hockey. I’ve come to begrudgingly accept the fact that 99% of Americans don’t give half a sh*t about hockey. It was fashionable to like the NHL for a minute or two in the 90s as Gretzky took his show to LA and then NYC. But increasingly crappy league management, horrible tv contracts (so long ESPN and good luck seeing the Stanley Cup on broadcast), and an entire season work stoppage later, the NHL has lost its status as a top 4 sport in most people’s minds.
So the fact that Sarah Palin’s parental duties as a hockey mom are being used to tout her credibility as a salt-of-the-earth, hard-working American is laughable. People are acting like being a hockey mom is as American as hot dogs, apple pie, and baseball. Come on. Who are we kidding? Hell, this is a sport championed by Canadians and…gasp…Russians! The only time anyone in America ever cares about hockey is when some unlucky sap is nearly beaten to death on the ice, when a spectator is killed by an errant puck, or when a player drops dead at the rink from a medical condition. Oh wait…didn’t that happen last week in Russia. If Palin was such a great hockey mom, maybe she could have saved that young Ruskie, after all, I’m sure she could have seen the incident from her house.
And does being a parent who attends your kid’s sporting events necessarily make you a good parent? There are constant reports of abusive parents berating referees and kids alike at the pee wee sports level. Even in San Francisco (home of San Francisco Values), the youth soccer league requires a mandatory meeting for parents at the start of the season where parents are told not to behave like lunatics. The meeting is called because every year there are multiple incidents of parent-generated sideline lunacy. Now I’m not saying Palin would be one of these nutbag parents, but honestly do you think she would more likely be the type of parent who, after a game, would a) buy the team slurpees or b) try to get a referee fired for making a questionable hooking call against her child?
And finally on the parental note, are her kids any good at playing hockey? If they were good, we could ascertain that she was a good hockey mom. She’s certainly birthed enough kids, but it’s not like any of her brood are tearing up the NHL like the Staals, Sutters, Mahovolichs or Howes. Heck, they’re probably not as good as the Koivu or Michalek clans. Now that’s a list of hockey moms that should be celebrated.
Trying to goose her party’s chances in November, Palin has been making the rounds of NHL rinks in key battleground states. Right now, it’s looking like this tactic may backfire. The other night in St. Louis, Palin dropped the ceremonial first puck at a Blues' game. Shortly thereafter, Blues starting netminder Manny Legace tripped over the ceremonial red carpet and had to leave the game with a “lower body injury”. The Blues will be fighting for that 8th playoff spot in the always tough Western Conference. Without Legace they don’t stand much of a chance. Here’s hoping that Blues’ fans will keep that in mind when they vote on November 4. And remember, since 1904, Missouri has always voted for the eventual winner of the Presidential election with the exception of 1956.
Several weeks back she dropped the ceremonial first puck in Philadelphia and the boo birds were out in force at the Spectrum (or whatever the hell the name of that arena is now). Some wags have been laying the blame on the Flyers slow start as a Palin curse. I don’t see it that way. The Flyers defense just sucks right now. But that said, imagine if Daniel Briere had tripped on the red carpet and had left the ice with a "lower body injury". Palin would have been lucky to escape alive. Minimally, some of the Philly faithful would have chucked a couple of battery-filled snowballs at her head. Her $20,000 hairdo would sure to have been mussed.
There's about 15 months left in the interminable NHL season but only about a 10 days left until the election. I'm not sure if Palin is planning on taking in a Panther or Lightning game, but at the rate she's going, I'm hoping maybe she'll stop by to work the corners in the Sunshine State.