NHL commissioner Gary Bettman’s love affair with hockey in the deep south reveals a total lack of understanding of not only the hockey climate, but of climate in general.
Allow me to explain.
You see, I still remember my first Alberta blizzard. It was late July. And golfing in snowshoes and swimming in a fleece Speedo does not a happy little camper make.
Which likely explains why many Canadians (and after this dismal summer, virtually every Albertan) are actually warming up to global warming, despite the fact that Mother Nature’s menopausal hot flashes threaten our very existence.
Let’s face it: if David Suzuki was wringing his hands over an impending ice age, every Canadian would take the threat more seriously. Yes, even the Conservatives.
But global warming? Ooh, scary stuff, kids.
We warm up to new acquaintances, we warm up a cup of soup, and, after a day of curling, tobogganing and wassailing, we warm up our Canadian buns. Warming up is a “nice” thing to do. And Canadians are nice. Ergo, Canadians embrace warming.
When, after all, was the last time you heard a Canadian cry over their beer because summer was dragging on forever? Or how many of you carry around glowing memories of having snow stuffed down the front of your dorky snow pants by a pimply-faced bully named Chuck? Okay, so that one’s a little specific and may only apply to me, but still, you get the point.
That’s why many Canadians will quietly proffer sentiments such as: “Why can’t we have just a little global warming? Sure, some South Pacific island nations might be submerged, but my golf game could really use the extra month.”
And that’s why any Canadian-based global warming campaign needs an image makeover. After all, selling warming to Canadians as a problem is akin to giving away free ice cream during a heat wave—it actually sounds like a rather splendid idea.
So here’s what we need to do.
First, we need to rename global warming something scary, such as: Entire Global Apocalyptic Destruction. Turn into an acronym (EGAD), throw in a few exclamation marks (EGAD!!) and you’ve got yourself one spine-chilling made-for-CBC-movie-of-the-week-threat that we can all rally around. In a nice way.
Secondly, we need to link EGAD!! to something that truly terrifies Canadians. Sure, some Canadians are concerned about the plight of polar bears, but no one will get seriously motivated unless the cuddly carnivores start munching their way through the suburbs of Toronto.
No, to spurn a nation of apathetic Canadians into action we need to link the climate change threat to the death of our beloved national sport.
Yes, global warming will KILL Canadian hockey faster than Gary Bettman. EGAD!!
Consider the facts. The Montreal Canadiens and Edmonton Oilers have won 28 Stanley Cups. These are two of the coldest NHL cities on the planet, if not the universe, with an average winter temperature of something approaching
-70. Compare that to the record of the Ecuadorian. . .oops, my mistake, Ecuador doesn’t even have an NHL hockey team. So it should be obvious to even an amateur climatologist that the further south one travels, the less hockey-friendly the environment.
Sure, the Anaheim Ducks, Tampa Bay Lightning, and Carolina Hurricanes have all recently stolen the cup from cold city teams, but that’s what scientists dismiss as an anomaly brought about by a conflux of shoddy refereeing, unusual solar flare activity and other scientific stuff too complex even for Al Gore to understand.
For the most part though, the equation works: Cold climates create hockey dynasties. Hot climates create the Phoenix Coyotes.
Do you really think someone from a place like California could have ever invented the Zamboni? Okay, bad example. Frank Zamboni did indeed invent the Zamboni in California, but again, I think we can dismiss this as an anomaly. After all, good science, like religion, is all about knowing what to chuck and what to keep.
My subtle, non-alarmist point is this: global warming will destroy Canadian hockey, unleashing a domino effect that will rip apart the very fabric of our Canadian society faster than an angry seamstress.
But one thing we can do to stave off the inevitable melting of the hockey ice caps is to relocate southern teams (if only there was a team in desperate need of money that we could use as a test case) to more northerly climes (if only there was a buyer and a hockey-crazed market that would accept them).
And if Gary Bettman stopped blowing hot air up our Canadian assets, just imagine the dent we could put into the global warming crisis.
Copyright 2013, Michael Kerr, www.HumoratWork.com Michael is a Hall of Fame business speaker, very funny motivational speaker, and the author of six books including What’s So Funny About Alberta? and The Humor Advantage.
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