Hockey’s back, baby!

The return of an NHL regular season, and of Canadian normalcy

Today marks the start of the 2021 NHL season, which, for many of us, also marks the beginning of a return to normalcy. Like so many other Canadians, my life has always included a whole lot of hockey-watching, so when COVID hit nearly a year ago now (what the hell, right?) amongst all the crazy life changes that it brought, the weirdest by far was to be cooped up during the playoff season, with no playoff hockey to be seen.

This return of a “regular season” feels like a breath of fresh air to me. Although it’s not what I once knew it as, and I won’t be able to go home to Ottawa and sit in my family’s seats to enjoy a game in person (or not enjoy — I’m an Ottawa Senators fan so it’s touch and go), being able to watch hockey again is about as normal as anything has felt in the last 10 months.

Before COVID forced businesses to close down in March, I worked as a hostess at a busy restaurant near the Bell Centre. Our success was and is largely dependent on Habs games and big crowds flocking to the arena. Although I actively dislike the Habs, being in a busy, hockey-centric atmosphere is always fun. When the NHL stopped play in March, it didn’t just mean no more hockey, it meant no more work. It meant a massive loss in revenue to my workplace, and it meant myself and my coworkers losing our income and struggling to get government support. I’ll take this opportunity to thank Trudaddy for that CERB cash, despite the hours upon hours I spent on the phone with Service Canada in order to get it.

My restaurant finally opened their doors on Sept. 1, just for the news to come out on Sept. 28 that we would need to close again — the day of both my birthday and the Stanley Cup Final, what fun!

All of this to say, there have been highs and lows this past year. There has been time to reflect, rejuvenate and relax, and plenty of time to go a little stir crazy. So, now that we’re in the thick of it once again — government-imposed curfew and all — let’s take a moment to be grateful for being given back one piece of normalcy that we so craved. Stock the fridge with beer, put on your jersey, and celly from the comfort of your living room; hockey is back.

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