Hockey’s Incongruity

There’s something ironic and incongruous about a sport where the archetypal joke is that “during the fight a hockey game broke out, ” and yet at season’s end players actually vie for something called the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy, emblematic of “sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct.” For all the slashing, bone-rattling hits, periodic brawls and generic mayhem, the players are the best spoken of the major team-sport athletes. And that’s in French, Russian, Ukrainian, Swedish, Finnish and Czech-accented English. An unshaven John Lynch on skates comes to mind.

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