Gelato can change your life

I present part four, long overdue in the creative writing series. The topic, as ever, provided by 642 Things to Write About.

“Your most transcendent ice cream experience.”

I begin by slightly altering the topic to “Your most transcendent gelato experience”. This is two-fold. Firstly, ice cream is something you can buy at any grocer, corner store, or mom-and-pop shop across the way. Gelato however, gelato is a love affair you will chase across the globe. Ice cream is the poor man’s gelato, and anyone telling you otherwise should be put in their place. Secondly, I am in the midst of a 5 year love affair with gelato.

It’s not that I had never tried it prior to arriving in Italy, it’s just that everything that accompanied my double-scoop cone from Gelateria Santa Trinita was what put it at the top of my all time culinary experiences. (This is saying something, coming from someone who dated a chef, and a damn good one at that.) Sure, the atmosphere makes the experience of cool, perfectly flavoured crema and nocciola gelato dribbling down your chin fairly memorable. Let’s be honest, you’re in the middle of a Florentine palace (the Frescobaldi Palace, to be exact), everything by default is going to taste that much sweeter. There is a reason there were repeat purchases made here throughout the remainder of my week long stay in Firenze.

Santa Trinita Gelateria Exterior

Photo credit: Gelateria Santa Trinita online

 

Gelateria Santa Trinita

Photo credit: Almeera Ismail, Firenze, 2009

Most travel books tell you to visit San Crispino in Rome for great gelato. They are lying to you, straight up, bold-faced lies. If you must skip Florence and get gelato in Rome, please do yourself a favour and venture to your local pizzeria, or any restaurant for apertivo instead. You’ll thank me. Nothing will compare to gelato from Santa Trinita, nothing.

Unless you visit Vancouver. In which case, please, please, I beg of you, visit Bella Gelateria in downtown Vancouver. You will wait in line, likely year round, and absolutely so in good weather. But your taste buds will alight the minute you get your first sampling. I visited this establishment after returning from Italy (with my elitist gelato expectations in tow), and was absolutely blown away. (So too were a lot of Italians when this little company from Vancouver, B.C. won the 2012 Technical Jury Award, at the Florence International Gelato Festival in Italy. (And has continued to win, year after year, since).

Bella GelateriaPhoto Credit: D. Sitar and an iPhone5, 2014 (Eating Salted Caramel and Meyer Lemon Gelato)

Rather obviously, I accompanied a friend of mine for a noon “ice cream” fix ready to critique the heck out of their offerings. Trouble was, I couldn’t find a problem. In fact, in the three years since I had been back, this was the first time through taste alone I seriously wondered if I was back in that piazza, sitting on a church step listening to the sound of rain while I contemplated life over gelato.

It was those first moments in Florence, sitting in the quiet, the rain my only soundtrack, that I realized a few things. One was that this was truly the pace of life in Italy. This is a country that beats to its own drum when it comes to that ever elusive work-life balance. As a culture, they take their time with life, savour it. If there was one thing I brought back with me, it was this outlook on life. To savour the sweetness of doing nothing, and everything at the same time.

The other realizations were more personal. I was preparing to come back to Canada, and start a career that I was unsure of before it had even begun. This decision would be the first of many life lessons I would learn in the following years. And not once do I regret my decisions. Now, more than ever, I unabashedly believe that we are the creators and destroyers of our own opportunities. Your life is going to be what you make of it, so you better make sure you are going to be happy with the decisions you make now.

Lastly, on those very steps is where I came to terms with the fact that the relationship I was in was finally coming to a close. It was one of those that probably went on a little longer than it should, but you didn’t want to be the one to end it. You had gotten to that comfortable place where a part of you says “it’s not terrible, we don’t hate each other, and we care for each other, so why end something you’re sure of?” Life lesson: end it. The difference between being a young-twentysomething in a relationship and an older-twentysomething in a relationship is that you finally figure out that if you’re not 100% happy with something, you can say so.

It was in these quiet moments, savouring the sweet offerings of Florence that I was changed. I did not know it at the time, but slowly, your own self creeps up on you and surprises you when you least expect it. So go ahead, get that double-scoop cone or cup, sit on a park bench, on some church steps, or wander the streets. But whatever you do, allow yourself to enjoy those quiet moments. They speak loudly if you let them.

Advertisements

The greatness of sandwiches

A while back, I talked about a journal I stumbled upon, called 642 Things to Write About. I’ve been fairly diligent in writing every day, sometimes twice. So as part of the new direction of this blog, I give you the second in this creative writing series.

“The greatness of sandwiches.”

Sandwiches are perfect. Straight up, they are legitimately p-e-r-f-e-c-t. They don’t discriminate in their length or width or smell, if they’re regulated as a side to a soup, or if they’re your entree. Sandwiches just want to be there for you, to be eaten, and savoured. The perfect sandwich will aim to please you so greatly, you’ll come back to them. They are not unlike your own personal yes-man. Hungry? Yes-man. Want a delicious sandwich that’s the perfect mix of protein, seasoning, garnish and cheese? Yes-man. I reiterate, sandwiches, you are perfect.

If done right, you, the eater, are faced with this perfect equilibrium of your choice of protein, dairy, vegetables and bread. This is the stuff dreams are made of. A good sandwich can fill you up. A great sandwich can turn your day around and put you in a better mood. An epic sandwich? That will change your life in a way you never imagined.

Consuming an epic sandwich means you’ve hit some various criteria: the ideal crunch-to-softness ratio has been achieved, there’s just enough flavouring to your meat or substitute so as to not overpower you, the right combination of salty and sweet has been met in your vegetable additions and somewhere in there, you’ve added in delicious cheese to ooze every where, or bring out the flavours further in your wonderful gastro-experiment.

Case and point, this example from a local Vancouver eatery, Meat and Bread, their slow braised beef brisket with cabbage.

I have consumed many a sandwich in my day, from the ho-hum mystery lunch meat specials, to a solid PBJ (Organic peanut butter and home made jam, of course), to amazing finds on the go in Vancouver and abroad. Thankfully, sandwiches are one way that experimenting with foods and combinations can actually pay off once in a while. Your adventurous nature is often rewarded in the symphony of deliciousness that unfolds with your first bite. I can verify this is a thing. No, seriously, if you’re ever in Florence, head over to i due fratellini, order the cinghiale piccante con caprino and then come back here and tell me I changed your life.

Prosciutto panini
Prosciutto and provolone on a homemade bun, i due frattelini (please note the massive size of this amazing sandiwch).

The fact that someone can even question the greatness that is the sandwich breaks my heart. ‘Breaking bread’ is a time honoured tradition with friends and family, but why bother breaking it in the first place if you don’t intend on piling it high with amazing ingredients, revering it for what it is (the best sit down or on the go food around), and stuffing your face?

 

 

 

How to Deal When You Love Hockey, But Your Team Majorly Sucked This Season

Obviously, if you’ve read any of this blog in the past two years, you can safely determine that I am a tiny bit of a hockey fan. So, recently, faced with a new “my-Canucks-sucked-so-bad-they-didn’t-make-the-NHL-playoffs-and-oh-my-God-the-team-is-going-to-blow-up” world, a thought occurred to me. What’s it like to be a hockey fan in the depths of summer, when you have no one to cheer for? I posed this question to a friend of mine, we’ll call him Junior, and asked him to write his take of life deep into the most exciting time of the year, with nothing at all to be excited about. Is it really about the world’s best and most beautiful sport? Or do allegiances taint the love?

Junior:

It’s Wednesday, May 14th and the eyes of the hockey fans around world (really, mostly North America) are focused on the TD Boston Garden where the Bruins are set to face the Montreal Canadiens in Game 7 of their war of attrition 2nd round playoff series. As a Vancouver Canucks fan, you would think that I would be greatly anticipating the prospect of the Bruins’ season ending at home – to a Canadian hockey team no less.

The sad fact is: I just don’t really care either way. I guess it’s a symptom of watching your favourite team’s season end before the playoffs even begin. Without a vested interest in the NHL playoffs, you find yourself saying things like “that Marchand is a talented two way forward” and “Milan Lucic sure seems like a classy fellow.”  Yes – you can become a bandwagon fan for a few weeks and cheer for a feel good story – there’s nothing wrong with that. (Editor’s Note- There is, 100% absolutely something wrong with BOTH of these former statements, and I have supporting evidence to both, but I digress.) But if you have not spent an entire season following a team through its highs and lows (and being a Canucks fan, there have been plenty of crippling, deeply dark, lows lately), that emotional component that makes the road to the Stanley Cup so exhilarating is noticeably absent. In other words, I could give a duck. It’s impossible to feel good about hockey in general when you realize that in the span of about eight months, your team went from being a high-calibre, playoff ready squad, to having two rookies in net, lowest scoring totals in half a decade, and an injury list that could reach Los Angeles.

Playoff Hopes

 And this is how I have come to feel strangely indifferent about the NHL playoffs this spring without the Vancouver Canucks’ involvement. There were never any potential second or third round match ups to worry about. Never any lineup controversies to get into a heated argument discuss with co-workers. Never any ridiculous time pumping quotes to analyze. No, being a hockey fan come playoff time when your team does not even qualify for postseason play is an altogether dreary experience. It’s like knowing someone’s going to win the lottery, someone you know, maybe even like a little, and you’re not even getting a penny of it. Maybe admitting this fact makes me a sad excuse for a hockey fan, but it also makes me an honest hockey fan. I’m a one-team, and one-team only kind of guy.

 The rest of you can enjoy watching hockey well into June. I’ll be sitting by a swimming pool somewhere eagerly awaiting (and maybe dreading) October.

Hockey Heartbreak

I am writing this in advance of my team’s fourth (and potentially final) game of the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs.  I am by no means admitting defeat, in any way shape or form, of my beloved Canucks to the San Jose Sharks.

Today, I am here to confess that I am a hockey instigator. In no way do I claim to know all about hockey, rather the opposite.  However, I am no slouch. I know teams, most relevant stats, player statuses and rumours inside and out. It is this knowledge that becomes my best friend and mortal enemy during playoff season.  You see, I am not what one would call a “silent spectator”. Sure, I watch games in relative silence, I enjoy the peace, for goodness sakes we all know I have to watch the first period of a regular season game on mute! Playoff hockey brings out the Jekyll in me. I am a raging, high-strung, stressed-out, heart-racing, clawing-at-my-jersey, monster. A monster. There, I said it.

This can best be exemplified by my actions last Friday evening. I was having a girls day out, ending of course in time for puck drop to go spend the evening with my boys. We watched Ottawa and Montreal play, Montreal winning 3-1, and I convinced the keeper of the remote to play the Vancouver-San Jose game immediately after. Down after 20 minutes, Ryan Kesler (Kes-lord to you plebes), strapped the Canucks on his back to score twice in the third, ensuring a Canucks win, with a minute left to play, right?  Wrong. Patrick Marleau, ever invisible, scored the game-tying-goal at 19:04 in the final frame.

Now, until this point, I was quiet. Occasionally looking skyward, praying to the hockey gods for a goal or four to break the opposing goalie’s Berlin Wall-esque demeanour. There were  a few groans on bad hockey plays, and a few instances of shouting at the TV while the boys looked on at me in disbelief. I only acutely resembled this guy, I swear!

At 19:04 of the third, everything changed. I made the quick decision to split, immediately.  Forcing myself to bust-my-butt to get home for the start of overtime (OT).  I explained to the boys that I did not want them to see me “that way”, and scurried out the door. You see, OT makes me freak out. The sit in a corner of my room, rock back and forth and repeat “come on boys” kind of freak out. I am a mess when it comes to sudden-death overtime, why? Because that’s it. That’s all she wrote. No re-dos, no play out the rest of the period, that’s it.  Your goose is effectively cooked, and being down 2-0 in a series is never, ever a good thing, even worse when your next two games of a seven game series are in the other team’s house. Last Friday, I made it home for OT. I loaded up a stream in time to hear iron ring and pray to God that puck hit the post a few inches inside the bar, and not out.  God did not answer those prayers. A minute later, the Sharks scored, the game was over and my team is headed for what many feel is a second consecutive ousting in the first round of the playoffs.

Losing did not sting as badly as it should have. Losing in OT, when your team out hustled, out hit and out shot the winners is the stinger.  This, friends, is hockey heartbreak, and this is why I am writing this today, ahead of game four, down 0-3 in the series with supposedly no hope left. Friday night was heartbreak night, Sunday was time to be enthused and hopeful for 40 minutes, and then watch your team implode night. I have hope. There will be a game 5, at least. There has to be, because if not, I have to hear it from my “friends”, the Leafs fans, in particular, who after 9 years of ridicule, shame, and constantly cheering for a team who fails to live up to expectations, they will seek their revenge.

21102_10100363042996625_800556488_n

Ch-ch-changes

In life, sometimes we all need to take a risk from time to time, if only to spice up the ordinary by trying a new cuisine, or more drastic options, such as packing up your life and moving clear across the country on a wing and a prayer. As most of you may have gathered by now, I am not one for the small gesture. For me, if a change needs to happen, it needs to be balls-to-the-wall or not at all, otherwise it won’t have nearly the impact desired.

Long story short, it’s been just over a month since my last post, I no longer call Vancouver “home”, and find myself 3542km across the country in Ottawa with friends who happen to be like family to me, trying to start the next chapter of my life. This decision was not made lightly at all. Sure, I flipped back and forth on it for the greater half of the summer and ultimately, this was a decision that wasn’t a choice at all. A shift had to occur in my life anyway, and what better place to go than somewhere with legitimate job prospects and a solid as steel support system?

It’s been one week since I’ve arrived. Yes, it feels rather surreal to not see my family or friends in Vancouver daily or weekly. Yes, it feels surreal to see my friends here in Ottawa daily or weekly. This will all taking some adjusting and getting used to. Can I do it? Absolutely. Do I have any regrets? As of right now, no. I can’t say with 100% confidence (more like, 95%) that this is where I am meant to be. However, I can say with 100% certainty that I am not meant to be in Vancouver right now. That’s all the clarity I need for the moment. I know that’s not a lot of assurances to go on for most people, my family members included. Most of them are worried for me, scared of what may or may not come to fruition for me. I completely understand and respect that. However, sometimes following your gut pays off, and my gut hasn’t been this settled on a choice I’ve made in a long time. It’s hard to convey that feeling to people who don’t function that way; the people who need quantitative facts and figures to weigh their options and then take the appropriate course of action. Perhaps it’s a generational gap kind of thing, or a miscommunication of sorts. Regardless, here I am, and here I will be for the foreseeable future.

I find it amazing how much information the human brain can retain. It has only been one week since I’ve moved here, and 3 years since I last officially lived here. In a lot of ways, nothing and everything has changed. My internal navigation system hasn’t quite failed me yet (thank goodness). The surreal feeling I was referring to above is mainly to do with my friends. People I rely upon daily through the wonderful advances in technology, and now they are in front of me- tangibly. My male roommate and friend pointed this out to me a short few hours ago. Our “brunches” we reserved for each other on Sundays when I lived here can now occur at any moment, I just need to ask. It’s the little things like that, the safety nets I didn’t quite realize I needed that let me know things will be OK.

As the quote says above, 20 seconds of insane courage was all it took for me to start my next chapter. I’m not sure what will be written of it, but I can promise it will be entertaining, heartfelt, full of life experiences, and most importantly, all of my own doing.

Greeting Cards, to bother or not to bother?

Full Disclaimer: I ❤ Greeting cards. I love making them, sending them out, and finding them unexpectedly in my mail box, at all times of the year, not only during the holidays. Every occasion I can think up, I’ll make a card for: births, weddings, engagements, halloween, new houses, you name it. We’ve already discussed the fact that I (begrudgingly) admit my hopeless romantic outlook on life. Greeting cards play into this side of my personality perfectly.

For the last few years, on and off, I would try to hand-make a few cards, regardless of occasion, just to add a touch of whimsy, or something personal. Then, about two years ago, I decided to just scrap it all, stop spending upwards of $5 per card per person, and just make my own. I was sick of spending a good portion of my “gift” budget on greeting cards or gift wrap year after year. So I made a challenge to myself, if I am going to bother sending out a card to anyone, for any reason I better damn well make it. The response the first go around was more or less positive. It was after I got into a groove, getting more creative that I realized I actually liked making them. Each one, I would try to have something personal for each recipient. A little joke, a picture they would find funny, a surprise of sorts in every envelope. This stance of mine, however, is not one often shared. 

One of my best (and very cynical) friends, bless his soul, chose to partake in this blog of mine by way of a rant. A rant specifically surrounding the premise of greeting cards. Here is his story: 

I’m kind of a jerk. When I write it is either to help someone solve a technical problem (which involves me telling them something has gone wrong, and insinuating someone is an idiot) or, recently, for grad school which is basically the same thing just with a lot more research.

You might think “Hey, this is Christmas, doesn’t this jerk write any nice Christmas cards to balance out the jerk writing?”

To that I would say two things:

1) “Nice segue Mr. or Mrs. inner monologue”

and

2) “No. I don’t write any Christmas cards”. Gasp.

Christmas cards are fake. They are a stand in for real sentiment. Also, they are for old people who love killing trees and spending $7 for an 8.5 x 11 inch piece of printed paper, folded, with envelope. Cards should cost 10 cents but they don’t because everyone is forced by the card cabal into this inane moneymaking scheme.

I once thought that cards would become like pictures (and to some extent I still think along these lines) in that digital cameras dropped their price significantly and people experience them in many digital forms (digital photo frames, computer desktop wallpapers, etc.). Cards should become easier to access and print, driving the price down. With less people sending cards their prices have gone up to try to reclaim those losses. Even though people can print cards from home, they still go buy cards?

Here is my complete unscientific chart on card deaths:

  • 85% of all cards end up in the trash < 2 minutes after opening.
  • 9% sit on shelf / mantel to collect dust. In trash < 1.5 weeks after opening.
  • 4% end up in a shoebox to never be seen again, sit in closet 5+ years as fire hazard.
  • 2% never sent, sit forever. These cards are suicidal.
  • 1% cause actual human death as:
    1. Man sends wife’s card to mistress and vice-versa. This leads to double homicide, and tax payer dollars down the tubes.
    2. Cards that are sent to mob bosses that are unfunny/not sentimental enough result in the sender being “removed” from Christmas cars list permanently.
    3. 1 in every 900 mail carriers dies of exhaustion carrying the entire weight of Christmas cards for the year through the snow

See, you could save a life by not sending cards. The life you save could be your own (see items 1 & 2 – possibly 3).

Also, people send cards in the mail…. Why do you do this? We have a new invention called the “Internet….ooooohhhh….ahhhhhhh”. This is equivalent to you thinking this: “I want to send this message to someone, but it should take a random amount of days and take a really long time, or at least as long as possible, and I should need a little sticker to do it, and need put it in an inconveniently placed metal box , and have no idea if it gets there. I also want to pay for this shoddy service!” instead of thinking: “ [Click] ”.

Seriously, I do understand why we send cards. It’s nice to hold something tangible. For the elderly or Internet-less, it’s the only/best way to reach them. E-cards are too cheap and insincere, and our society has an almost mystical relationship with cards of all types. Think about the significance so many people put on getting a card whenever any event or milestone or holiday happens. Births, deaths, and weddings all rate a card. However, holidays, birthdays and anniversaries also get cards. These events happen automatically people. You don’t have to do anything special for Christmas or Easter or Thanksgiving to come again. That’s just how a calendar works.

Even if you physically attend an event you are still expected to bring a card…..I doubt the hosts forget who they invited (particularly with email) yet you are supposed to hand them a piece of paper with your name on it. Just in case.

Please, people, stop sending cards when it just doesn’t make sense.

Although, maybe I’ve totally misunderstood just how important a role cards play. We interact with chits (which is a term commonly used in many militaries. It comes from Sanskrit and means a small piece of paper) all the time:

  • playing cards
  • tickets (people attach huge significance to these)
  • tarot cards (even more significance)
  • permits / licenses
  • business cards

I spent quite a few hours this week making samples for a friend of graphical business cards (which is probably how these thoughts started) and noticed just how important those little cards are to most people. [In Japan, it is considered bad form, when bowing and handing over your business card, to touch the face with anything but the smallest piece of your thumb, and never over the logo or name.]
http://learn2lingo.com/blog/2009/11/japanese-business-card-etiquette/

Photo example of how to accept a business card in Japan:
http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_5k_Lj7lfCmU/Sb9KiI9eaVI/AAAAAAAAAfQ/FAl92kZ52KA/s400/business+card.jpg

Cards are significant because they have a way of directing our lives (and not just the tarot kind). Cards push and prod us. They cause us to gain and pay money. They Identify us. And, they are responsible for the exchange of sentiment. At least fake or restrained sentiment.

This holiday season, be different. Send a long-winded and heartfelt sentimental email to the people around you. Something that has real information in it, and takes more then 2.9 seconds to read. Tell people about what is going on and what you think about it. Yes, it takes more time, but it’s the one blow you can make against the glib and shoddy level of communication (the text message/facebook-ization [yeah, that’s right, this blog invents words!] of our communicative habits) we see everyday. After a party – send a letter – don’t take a card. People around you might think you are crazy, but the host will completely understand after getting your email. So will loved ones. So will random people you barely talk to. Send a message, not a card. Try it out, and you will be impressed.

Here are the exceptions to the “don’t send a card” rule.

  • Old people
  • People you don’t actually love/care about
  • People who annoyingly demand cards (see number 2)
  • People who send handmade cards, or cards that are just crammed full of handwritten text (you people are ok)
  • Old people in foreign countries
  • Indigenous tribes without internet access
  • Old people without internet access

If you must send a card, check these out. At least you won’t be a classy card sender:
http://theoatmeal.com/horrible

If you must send a message, try sending one of these- they are personalized phone calls from Santa (actually from Google). Everyone loves them, and this includes people over the age of 12.
http://www.sendacallfromsanta.com/

If you’ve read this, I hope it gave you something to think about. I hope you have an excellent holiday season and I honestly hope that you communicate better with your loved ones both verbally and through the written word. – A.C.C.

That is a lot to take in, I agree. I toyed with chopping up this rant and censoring it some. Ultimately, I felt to get my (correct) approach across, it was best to leave it as-is. Bitter undertones and all. I should note, he is not a hypocrite in his distaste for cards. I can vouch that I received, and opened his Christmas present to me, and sure enough, it was sans-greeting card. (I suppose he would state his excuse being this above tirade). He’s obviously of the new-age digital generation. I just like to think of life prior to say…the 80s. How else would you have gotten in touch with someone? Phone, fax or mail. Actual snail-mail. Even when I was a precious pre-pubescent child, I enjoyed long-hand letter writing. My cousin in Ontario and I would send back PAGES of random anecdotes to each other on a monthly basis. We would outline love, life, school, really anything we felt of importance to the other. It was tedious, but it was truly a labour of love. 

I rediscovered this passion during my European travels, when I had met some truly amazing people from a handful of countries. Now a day, when most people say “sure, we’ll keep in touch”, that implies they add each other to Facebook, and randomly creep each others’ profiles once a year, never actually enquiring about the other. Not so. I send bimonthly letters (long hand), or emails to near every person I met. Sure, we have Facebook, Skype and instant messaging; but every time one of them open my letters, they always state how much of a surprise it is when they get them. 

I leave you today with a picture of what I refer to as “Santa’s Workshop”. (In other words, my desk, during the peak of holiday season, making cards.)

 

May you find the time to write something special, 
xo,
Meera

Hockey 101

I am blogging once again during the intermission of a Canucks game. (Quick update- we’re on a three game win streak, capped by a lovely outing against the in-laws’ team, Detroit, Wednesday night). The theme of tonight’s post is based on the request of my friend to “teach her hockey, fast, so she can talk to a boy”. Well my dear, it’s Christmas, so your wish is my command. (It’s a one-time deal, so consider yourself cashed in). Below is my “cliff-notes” version of Hockey 101 for rookies.

Long story short, she’s interested in a Senators hockey-fanatic guy, and by proxy would like to learn the game to a point where should there be a potential for some quality time, she could pass with flying colours. Let’s start with the basic layout of the game.

Hockey is played in three 20 minute periods with intermissions of 15 minutes between. There are five men per team on the ice during play: the forwards- Right Wing, Center, Left Wing, Left and Right Defensemen and the Goalie. The players are formed into lines (the forwards), and pairings (Defensemen), both rotate throughout the course of the game. The goalie is the only player who normally plays a full 60 minute game, whereas the players average around 15-25 minutes per game, depending upon their position. So, to the rink we go. I’ve attached a photo of the rink layout below to help this explanation along. NHL rink specifications of 200 feet (61 m) × 85 feet (26 m). The corners are rounded in the arc of a circle with a radius of 28 feet (8.5 m). The NHL attacking zones are expanded, when compared to international ice sheets, with blue lines 64 feet (20 m) from the goal line and 50 feet (15 m) apart.

Next up, we go over a few basic penalty calls. Penalties are called when an infraction occurs against the NHL rulebook and the penalized team services between 2 minutes and 4 minutes in the box, giving a man advantage to the opposing team. When a penalty is handed out, the penalized team is on the “PK” (penalty kill) and the team with the man-advantage is on the “PP” (power play). Below is a basic run through of penalties that can be called during play.

Boarding– Checking a player violently into the boards.

Charging- Violently hitting an opponent as a result of speed and distance traveled, or by leaving their feet to deliver a hit.

Elbowing- Using an extended elbow to make contact with an opponent.

Holding- Impeding an opponent by grabbing onto them.

Butt-Ending- Jabbing an opponent with the knob of their stick.

Cross Checking- Checking an opponent with the shaft of the stick held in both hands.

High-Sticking- Hitting a player in the head or shoulders with a stick. A penalty (a single minor-2 minutes if no blood is drawn; a double minor-4 minutes, if blood is drawn).

Hooking- Impeding an opponent by placing the blade of a stick into their body.

All right, after this, I’m not sure anyone can handle more information. But, these are the basics to get you going, to sit through a game, comprehend it, and most of all enjoy it.

Who said you can’t wear heels and be knowledgeable about hockey?