A few months back on Super Bowl Sunday I got a call from my friend and international hockey ambassador/author of The Travelling Goalie blog Adrian Mizzi.
He needed an extra goalie to play an exhibition game between his team the Ghetto Blasters and… Team Argentina.
“Team Argentina” was a group of about 30 university students who had come to Canada for the month to attend a hockey school. Adrian had somehow got wind of this and set up a challenge game between his rec team and the Argentinians. They just needed a goalie to help out, which was where I came in.
According to the IIHF website there are 966 registered hockey players in Argentina and I was on the ice with what felt like half of them. A couple of them were clearly well above their teammates so I’m just going to go ahead and claim those guys were national team caliber, and therefore claim it was legit Team Argentina (I have no idea if any of them actually were that level because I didn’t end up talking to any of them).
I dressed in the Ghetto dressing room because there were a lot of Argentines in their dressing room and I didn’t speak Spanish. A couple of them also dressed in the Ghetto room. There were two things the Argentines did that showed hockey dressing room banter crosses cultures — 1) penis jokes and, 2) cheering when the designated beer bringer showed up.
Anyway, the game was intense and the Argentine effort level was super-high. They were clearly psyched to be playing a Canadian team and were hurling themselves into every play — blocking shots, throwing the occasional (illegal) bodycheck, and really giving it. Though the Ghetto Blasters were technically better players these guys were giving it their all. I played pretty well, too, and in the end we scored a 9-7 victory (though Adrian claims it was 9-7 for them, or, diplomatically, an 8-8 tie). Screw that. We won.
He’s recently returned from a trip to South America to play with some of the friends he met, so go check out his blog.