Sunday, July 10, 2011

Sharing the Hockey Spirit, Part II: "Alberta Bound"

Courtesy of Hockey Spirit Fundraising Calendars
 (Cont'd from Part I)

I’m Alberta Bound/This piece of heaven that I’ve found/
Rocky Mountains and black fertile ground

Everything I need beneath that big blue sky/Doesn’t matter where I go/
This place will always be my home

-Paul Brandt, “Alberta Bound”

As Brian and Elizabeth Urlacher—the king and queen of hockey calendars—watch the Stanley Cup Finals, they must realize that The Most Coveted Cup is Alberta bound. Will Mason Raymond, the Canuck from Cochrane, AB and teammate Jeff Tambellini, the kid from Calgary, hold high the shiny silver chalice beneath Brandt’s big blue sky? Or will it be Bruins Johnny Boychuk and Andrew Ference—both from Edmonton—that do the honors?

The Canucks lead the series 2–0, and Red Deer’s royalty seem conflicted about their loyalty: Elizabeth, whose favourite donut at Tim Hortons is the Boston Cream (renamed, at least temporarily, to the Vancouver Cream), writes, “…Andrew Ference–our Alberta boy! That’s top-shelf reason enough for us to be thrilled to see the Bruins win. We also hold tight to all things Canucks…Go Canada Go! This is a unique playoff series because we’re going to be stoked for who ever wins! It’s nice to be in such a friendly cheering position.”

A week later, and a day before Game Six in Boston, the Canucks up 3–2, the Urlachers call to clarify their written comments. Elizabeth says, “I’m gonna answer for myself, Brian (who then laughs). My loyalties always go to first of all, to our closest team. My second thought on that is if that if by chance the Bruins win, that I’d be so happy for my friend, Barry Wheeler in Corner Brook, Newfounldand that that’s just great too.”

Canuck goalie Roberto Luongo's home and away ups and downs, she says, as well as the see-saw victory pattern, have contributed to the saga of this Stanley Cup finals.

The queen yields to her husband, who says, “I’m Vancouver all the way. Boston’s won a Stanley Cup before; Vancouver’s never won one.” The king continues, “I can’t believe how bad (the Canucks) have played in Boston.”

“That’s why it’s a saga, Brian,” Elizabeth says.

“I think it’s going to go seven games,” he concludes.

Now, three and a half weeks after the Bruins conquered the Canucks, Boychuk and Ference plan for their day (sometime in August) with the sporting world’s most celebrated thirty-four-and-half-pound trophy.

And the Urlachers have resumed their routine: A stop at Timmys, where Elizabeth orders her Boston/Vancouver Cream and Brian buys a Honey Cruller; designing and producing the fifteen-month calendars, which hockey organizations will sell to raise funds for their programs; and perhaps listening to a country tune. All this as couple anticipates the Stanley Cup’s trip to the province famous for those heavenly Rocky Mountains, Chinook winds, and Paul Brandt. Alberta: the place the king and queen of calendars call home.
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