ESPN’s War on Canada or, “Dear Hockey, I tried to care, but I’m in love with your cousin…”

This man is one of the most remarkably accomplished sportsmen of all-time, and our beloved correspondent, Spiral Flag, has no idea who he is...

Hey Canadians!

[[Editors note: here’s looking at you, Malcolm Gladwell!]]

Rejoice!

Today an American-American (me) tried to care about Hockey! I know about as much about hockey as I do about neurosurgery. I know that blades are required and there is usually a significant amount of blood. Today I decided to dedicate a significant chunk of my precious time to the appreciation of our country’s red-headed step-sport.

I sat and thought, “Where to begin? How does one go about starting to care about hockey? Do I pour some maple syrup into a can of Labatt Blue? Nah, Television probably.” So I turned it on and watched ESPN for a while. One hour. Two hours. Apparently ESPN doesn’t care about hockey either. In fact, I’m still watching ESPN as I write this, and I still haven’t heard them mention the game once.

Next I thought, “Well, internet has information. Let’s find hockey on internet.” That’s when I stumbled across hockey’s developmentally disabled cousin: Octopush.

In Octopush, Jacques Cousteau is known as "The Great One" to the chagrin of Canadians and assorted Gretzky fans worldwide

Simply put, Octopush is hockey played underwater. Two teams of six players each push a puck across the bottom of an Olympic pool in an attempt to score it into a 10 ft wide goal. The stick looks like a Wii remote, and the puck looks like a cylinder of Bubble Tape.

Spectators of the sport tread water above the “rink” with masks and snorkels. Same goes for the referees. But they wear brightly colored latex caps to distinguish themselves, because nothing says “authority” like a shorn skull.

What do the refs look out for? Well, you can’t put your stick on anything but the puck. This includes people. You also can’t touch the puck with anything but the stick. If you’re badass enough to pass the puck “at or near” an opponent’s head, you will be ejected to the surface of the water, so don’t fuck around!

Breaking news: ESPN just mentioned the game of hockey! They asked an NHL player about the impact and prevalence of concussions in the NFL. Then they almost talked about it as it applies to hockey!

Invented in the England in 1954, Octopush is now played internationally, with teams competing from countries such as Japan, the Philippines, Serbia, Slovenia, Hungary, Turkey, Brazil, and Zimbabwe.

In 2006, the sport’s governing body, Confédération Mondiale des Activités Subaquatiques (CMAS), after “considerable political turmoil,” fell victim to a coup d’état, and the league now has a second governing body: The World Aquachallenge Association (WAA).

The two entities continue to battle over control of the sport. In 2008, each league, in a mutual sabotage attempt, scheduled their championship games over exactly the same time period, in different continents. As a result, nary a soul (players or spectators) attended either event. [[Editors Note #2: How does this differ from actual professional hockey?]]

The popularity of the sport simply couldn’t stay stabilized enough to occupy both competitions. But hope still prevails for a reconciliation.

Hope still prevails…

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  1. […] Yesterday, my colleague SpiralFlag wrote an article in which he enlightened us to a sport he stumbled upon called “Octopush.” […]



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