Friday, January 30, 2015

DotTeeVee: College Hockey Line Brawl Fight: Ferris State at Minnesota State 1/18/14

Let me tell you an apocryphal story. Some guy asked me if I was going to watch the "Big Game" this weekend. My response, of course, was "Yes, I'm definitely going to watch the early afternoon regular season hockey game. Thank you for asking." I'm told there's some sort of Katy Perry devil show and/or thirty second corporate mind-washing video competition, but I'll probably pass. When you're a hockey fan and you sometimes struggle with the appeal of American Egg Ball, it happens. I've got my loyalties, mixed up and sad as they are. Does this mean I'd also watch College Hockey? Well, no, obviously not. Until now. And what better jumping off point to a world where "Ferris State" and "National Champion" can be said in the same sentence free from negative qualifiers or sarcastic negation than the night the exciting world of all against all ice wars finally made its way into the otherwise insomnia-curing college game.

We start off with a "draw" and the puck finds a way, as it generally does. Ferris State is taking on Minnesota State in a game with major championship implications. The hired killers from Big Rapids, Michigan are currently ranked #3 in the nation, but trail 4-2 to the Mavericks (You're dangerous Minnesota-Mankato, I like that). Obviously, something big needs to happen if the visiting Bulldogs are going to get back in this game. Maybe a technically superb play? Selfless teamwork that inspires? Putting that black disk in the correct net? No, how about a giant fight instead.

A centering pass fails, and we get some shoving after the officials call for a stoppage. The crowd, starved for anything resembling conventional entertainment, is going wild. "Yee haw! Shovin'! Push 'em again!" It's hard not to share this enthusiasm.

Come back here so I can push you away from me!

The shoving quickly escalates, once it becomes clear that pushing someone who is on a nearly frictionless surface is not going to accomplish much in terms of inflicting the physical harm they so richly deserve for trying to pass it near your goal. The grabbing begins and everyone ends up in a standing dog pile behind the net. Not in Wayne Gretzky's office, have some respect. Naturally, this results in deafening cheers. It's almost like anti-social behavior is more entertaining to the average Ice Gang fan than poorly executed cross-crease attempts.

This is how we re-tweeted before there was an internet.

The crowd is now throwing "stuff" on the ice, according to the announcer. Here, take my car keys, junior goons! Then it's time to drop the gloves and the reaction to our "first college hockey fight!" is simply off the charts from all involved. "Look at Adams!" shouts the other commentator. Yes, please do. He's feeding some poor bastard the meat candy and earning the socially prescribed "Ten year old watching first porn" reaction from all involved.

  I lost my full-ride athletic scholarship over this and ended up a human derelict, but it was worth it.

Just as I got tired of looking at Adams it's time to look at some other guy, who is also fighting. All five guys (actually ten, but who cares, right) are going! We get some speculation over whether the goalies will also participate in this ritualized destruction of one's NCAA eligibility, but it's impossible to say at this point. It appears the officials are even ready for battle, as a Minnesota State player gets manhandled by a zebra. Fortunately for whatever remains of his pride, the ref doesn't actually take advantage and throw some fists.

An official who can kick a much larger player's ass.

Gradually the belligerents become arm weary, collapse to the ice and/or get soundly whupped by the officiating crew. As this plays out, the goalies start trying to make their way toward center ice and what will certainly be perhaps ten seconds of comical and ineffectual flailing. Meanwhile, the crowd gives the players a standing ovation, a positive memory that will hopefully make the lengthy suspension and memory of getting horse-collared by a 150 pound official sting a little less. 

The goalies wave at each other, while unrelated footage of an unhappy coach is shown. That's ok NCAA college hockey broadcast, I can just use my imagination.

"And most importantly, have fun out there."

We do that 1920s phone booth trick, you know the one present-day readers, except instead of a phone booth it's the penalty box. Ferris State bench players look on with interest, realizing that their playing time is about to go way up with most of the team now on punishment. We shut the little doors on the penalty box to make escape impossible and everyone can now think about what they've done.

Komment Korner  

Yes you won the McNaughton cup... congrats hopefully you realize that its a glamor trophy 

I don't understand hockey

Pushing and shoving oh boy!!!  Thats Mankato State for you.

I was at thice game go mavs

Actually a lot of them are Canadians as well, MNSU has a guy from Latvia too.

Aaron Zehner is the author of "The Foolchild Invention" available in paperback and e-book format. Read free excerpts here and here.

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