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Gerry Flahive

The secret NHL repatriation plan Add to ...


From: Director of Hockey Canada To: Repatriation Committee c.c.: Director of Hockey Not-In-Canada

Friends, Manitobans, linesmen! Our long nightmare is almost over!

I know you will join me in celebrating the announcement of the return of the National Hockey League to Winnipeg. This hockey-starved city, struggling to feed its enthusiasm lo these many years with only an occasional Petro-Canada Olympic hockey drinking glass promotion, is but the vanguard of our secret campaign to repatriate all NHL teams to Canada.

The roots of our efforts extend back almost a century, to the very founding of the NHL.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who is writing the definitive history of the game (he is currently completing Vol. 37, Eddies: We Hardly Knew Ye - The NHL Careers Of Eddie Shore, Eddie Shack and All 641 Other Eddies), will reveal in Vol. 52 that the original cross-border deal to form the league was foisted on Canada, inserting U.S. teams into what should have been a purely Canadian enterprise.

At the 2012 G8 meeting, the PM will confront President Barack Obama with hard evidence of old U.S. threats of punitive tariffs on the importation of Canadian-made spats, sawhorses and head cheese, if we didn't comply with their terms for the fledgling NHL.

But we aren't going to rely solely on diplomacy to achieve our goal. Other measures will include:

  • The awarding of Olympic team designation to the Liberal Party of Canada's intramural shinny team, the Hull Rump. The Liberals' undying gratitude will advance our funding goals when they reassume power in 2015, 2020 or 2025.
  • Over the next few seasons, Montreal Canadiens fans attending games in Boston will discreetly, or in the context of celebratory rioting, incrementally remove all of the Bruins' arena seats and equipment back to Quebec.
  • The Moncton Haligonians, currently a semi-pro lacrosse team, will slowly begin using hockey sticks, skates and fighting stances as part of a pilot project we plan to introduce in U.S. softball leagues, confusing and disenchanting American sports fans.
  • We have surreptitiously acquired the Hayley, Ohio, junior hockey team, and will be renaming it The Hayley Wickenheiser. Ms. Wickenheiser will, in fact, be the only member of the team, and her total destruction of suburban Cleveland scoring records will so completely crush the spirits of local hockey fans that they will mount a campaign to expel all Canadians from American soil.
  • Canadians customs officials have kindly agreed to increase their usual level of harassment of American NHL teams entering Canada, to include such measures as citing chewing gum in the mouth as "the importation of a noxious weed."
  • Research In Motion, manufacturers of the BlackBerry, will introduce a very popular "Angry NHL Team Shareholders" app, which will remind U.S.-based financiers of the pathetic ticket sales and brand value of NHL teams based in cities that have never seen snow. The next southern team to collapse will be enticed to move to the Kitchener-Waterloo-Hamilton-Burlington-St. Jacob's region of Ontario, and renamed the SIM Cards.
  • Our operatives on the NHL rules and regulations committee will insert changes based on Canadian parliamentary procedures. For example, before taking a slap shot, a player will be required to "address the Speaker" - the goal judge.
  • When the Canadian dollar hits $1.25 (U.S.) and impoverished American teams tire of housing their players in youth hostels and using candy wax lips as mouth guards, we will finally be able to move the Phoenix Coyotes to a place where Canadians really want to cheer them on: Cancun!

Gerry Flahive is a writer and documentary producer in Toronto.

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