Canadian Senator David Adams Richards, a relative newbie in the upper house, took the time on Tuesday to give an official, on-the-record speech to his colleagues featuring a pretty spicy sports take: American announcers are ruining hockey.
Richards, an acclaimed novelist from New Brunswick who was appointed to the Senate by Justin Trudeau last year, took issue with the creeping intrusion of all kinds of unnatural American phrases into Canada’s favorite sport. They’re sweaters, not jerseys, he said. They’re dressing rooms, not locker rooms. They’re boards, not half-walls.
The statement continues on:
“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 ...
“No U.S. commentator can speak about ‘magical mittens,’ because most of them never saw a mitten. But I have actually heard them say, ‘He loops it in like a real good dunk.’ These odious phrases are all momentary inventions by American play-by-play announcers who have never played or understood the game.”
Richards also voiced his displeasure for terms like “knuckler,” and prefers something like “dipsy-doodling” to describe the players’ movement on the ice. As a writer, he clearly has a love for language, and even though he acknowledges the seeming pettiness of his complaints, he seems earnest in his disappointment as he hears Canadians adopt the phrases he despises. “The first thing lost is the game’s essential genius,” he said. The senator’s speech was cut off about four minutes in, and there was laughter and applause from the rest of the room when that happened.
I will say, even if he chooses some goofy examples, Richards has a bit of a point somewhere in there. Canada’s cultural independence from the U.S. is a legitimate concern for the country. And as someone who grew up right by the border, I can attest that the care and respect put into the Hockey Night In Canada broadcasts (especially the hype videos) make CBC depressingly superior to the vanilla NBC games. The best Canadian announcers currently beat the best Americans. But if this is about Pierre McGuire, man, that dude grew up in Montreal. He’s your fault, not ours.