If you’ve been to my class, you probably already know that I am a hockey fan. I love hockey. I watch hockey, I play hockey, I talk hockey. To say it simply, I am crazy about hockey.
You might have noticed that I haven been writing hockey as “hockey” and not “ice hockey” (as I hear much too often in Japan). The reason for this is simple: people in Canada never say “ice hockey”. Never. Why would we? It’s well understood that hockey is played on ice, so to say “ice hockey” would be repetitive. It would be the same as saying “grass soccer” or “field baseball”. Would you say field baseball? I didn’t think so. (And yes, I’m well aware that there is “field hockey”, and that it’s quite popular in some parts of the world, but not so in Canada, and that is why “field hockey” remains “field hockey” and “ice hockey” is “hockey”.)
One more thing about hockey before we go any further: the pronunciation. I really don’t know why, but the katakana for “hockey” is ホッケー, but this is definitely not how native English speaking people say it. We say “hockey” as ハーキー — that’s ハー as in “Ha-ha! That’s a funny joke and I’m laughing” and キ as in I’m using a key to open my shed door to get my hockey bag so I can go play hockey. So say it with me now: Hockey, hoc-key, HAA-key. Great job!
Anyways, to get back on track, I’m glad I live in Obihiro because hockey is somewhat of a popular sport here. Many people, young and old, play hockey. And quite a few of them are pretty good. Actually, they’re more than pretty good. I think they could hold their own with some of better players back in Canada, and I would not be surprised to see a Japanese person drafted to the NHL in the near future.
What’s the NHL you ask? Well that’s the National Hockey League of course. Or, as my Step 3 students will have learned this past year, the NHL stands for (this is certainly one of my favorite phrasal verbs) the National Hockey League. I really like the verbal phrase stand for. I think it’s a wonderful little phrase to use, and it’s a good one to know. Stands for is the same as saying “represents” or “means“. Anytime you can say or use one of these words you could just as easily substitute them for stands for, and doing so would make you sound all the more like a native English speaker. So here is everyone’s homework assignment for today: What does NHK stand for? I’m collecting homework first thing tomorrow morning so make sure you get it done!
And that’s all about it from me for this time. In a week from now, the NHL Stanley Cup playoffs will begin. I’ll be sure to check in when things get going and give a detailed description of all the fun that will surely happen.
Keep your stick on the ice!
Here are the team logos of all 30 NHL teams. Can you guess which one is my favorite?