Thursday, September 18, 2008

It's the most wonderful time of the year!

I knew it would come to this.

As the cold air continues to choke the life out of another summer, I can’t help but get excited for the upcoming hockey season. Actually, the truth is, I’ve been taking looks at my favorite hockey websites (look to the left) every couple of days ever since the Red Wings hoisted the cup back in June. What was I looking for? What news did I expect to find? Not much, I guess. But every once in a while I found a tiny morsel or a small scrap of something lying on the floor of the hockey dining room. These sources of nutrients kept me alive all summer long, just barely, and now I can finally nurse myself back to health as the season is only a few weeks from dropping the puck on itself.

So, what to say? I live in China. Not much hockey going on over here. When I bring it up with the locals it usually takes a little bit of explaining for them to understand what I’m talking about. Hockey, in Chinese, is “Bing Qiu – 冰求”. The translation for that is “Ice Ball” so you know that, from the name, there is not much interest in the sport.

Yet every fall I actually set up a little bit of a schedule that allows me to listen to the Oiler games on the internet via 630 CHED radio station. I am very thankful for that. Live Oilers action at 7am with a cup of coffee and a few slices of toast is something one must get used to while living life over here.

Rumor has it that I might even be able to watch a few games this year. After openly criticizing TSN for quite a while (I wrote them a letter) I am actually quite thankful for them now. They have a Video on Demand section that enables people, like me, to watch entire CFL football games on the Internet. Though they aren’t live, it is often loaded only a few hours after the game ends. That is nice. I noticed an NHL section on there as well. I’m hoping that it will soon be full up with all kinds of hockey goodness.

Whenever I am needing to actually watch a hockey game and nothing is available on the internet, I always have my stash of Oiler games from “The Cup Run” on DVD. Thank you to my friend Phil for the DVDs!

Thus is my situation. Being one of the only Canadian men living in this city (there is another guy from Ontario, but he lets his son wear a Leafs jersey) I am usually left alone in a lot in my hockey conversations. The bulk of this void usually falls on my poor, yet understanding wife. The only other guys that can maintain a hockey conversation for more than 2 minutes are both from Texas and… well, you get the idea.

So, that is the background. Now I want to look into the future. What does it hold and how much of whatever it holds does it hold?

One of the answers to that is something called “fantasy sports”. Kind of sounds like a questionable activity, but I swear that it is actually quite respectable in some circles. The city in which I live, Xining, has a very large circle. To learn more about fantasy sports go here.

We stick to the basic food groups of fantasy sports: baseball and football. I follow along with the Americans. At first (3 years ago), I didn’t care much for either, but as the time went by baseball has actually turned out to be my favorite. Football is growing on me too.

But what about hockey?

Trying to find people for my fantasy hockey league is like trying to find some sort of ancient treasure. It’s a desert, nothing but sand and empty water canteens. One of the Texans signed up but that’s it.

Plan B? To search the free agent waters of facebook. So far, so good. It’s actually turning into quite a diverse league. People from Xining to California to Calgary to Edmonton to Montreal and all the way around to Eastern Europe. This league should be a lot of fun. 3 spots left. Let me know if you are interested.

On top of this league I am also apart of the Kateri Super League. This league is going into it’s 2nd season and things are looking really exciting there. Most of the teams in this league are either related to me or are related to or friends with the people that I’m related to.

So, if you were worried that Brett might be loosing interest in sports, fear not! Even though they may not be real sports, they are still real fantasy sports.

Stay tuned for the next hockey blog where I count down the top 10 things to look forward to and the bottom 10 things to avoid regarding the 08-09 NHL season.

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