The good ol’ hockey gambling addiction
The following are (a different series of) emails that Bradley Prouse sent to a group of people to raise funds for the Five Crew Canoe’s Mongol Rally team. In March, the group held a 50/50 NCAA basketball bracket, with half the funds going to the team (its vehicle, its two charities) and the other half going to some French guy who won. No one fully understood what was happening, but only because the gambling centred around some American sport invented by a Canadian. Not this time.
Email one: 5 April, 2012, 4:49 pm
“Where players dash with skates a-flash,
The home team trails behind;
But they grab the puck and go bursting up,
And they’re down across the line.
They storm the crease like bumble bees,
They travel like a burning flame;
We see them slide the puck inside,
It’s a one-one hockey game.”
No citation necessary, of course. Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last forty years. Or if you don’t have a graduate degree in hippie-era Canadiana trivia. Of course, these lyrics belong to the Canadian National Anthem, written in 1973 by Stompin’ Tom Connors, then Minister of Puck Production and Immigration. To this day, nothing excites a group of Canucks like watching winter sports during the summer months. Starting in just a few days, we will once again celebrate our one-dimensional and entirely fictional cultural identity with the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs. So, since you can’t just drop everything and drive to Mongolia, give the Five Crew Canoe the chance. While gambling! It’s simple:
Finally, a sports pool Canadians care aboot… Abuot… Abowt…
We like hockey! It’s the sport that pits men of mostly equal height and build against one another in a brawl on ice that sometimes ends with a black rubber disk being smacked with a long wooden post past another man swaddled in protective foam and plastic and into a red metal rectangle backed with mesh. This battle is then televised to sedate a restless populace, who gorge themselves on government-subsidised barley-based drinks and wheat-based provisions, dulling their minds and quelling political unrest. Just like the Hunger Games, only more violent!
The problem is that, this year, the only Canadian team (that won’t incite a riot and turn their nation into a laughingstock) to have qualified for the playoffs is the Ottawa Senators, and not unlike real Ottawa senators we didn’t pick them, we don’t really like them, and we’re not sure when they’re sober.
So why don’t we make this more… interesting?
Here’s the deal
You pony up $20 to one of the members of the Five Crew Canoe, we accept half of it as your sponsorship of adventure, and the other half goes into The Pot. When the final match-ups are set in stone, you fill out the bracket by following the instructions of this spreadsheet geek*. Electro-mail your bracket to Bradley, Kiavash, Jordan, Amy, or Dave and we’ll enter your picks. I’ll email you a lot, more than you want, to update you on the process and to detail just how you’re losing your money. Check back here for updates through the four-to-six months that the NHL playoffs last.
What’s in it for me?
I assume you’re referring to yourself with that question, because it should be pretty clear what’s in it for me.
First place wins: The Pot minus $40 (the pot being half of all money collected).
Last place wins: the other $40.
Second place wins: the constant reminder of what could have been.
Tie breakers? Get serious. Ties, for first or last, will not be settled. You will share the winnings like The Five Crew Canoe will share a cramped microvan for 16,000 kms. Or you could just split it.
Tell your friends
Your hard-earned $20 buys one entry, so why not collect for your whole office or dogdeball team? Make sure to include the part about sponsoring the Five Crew Canoe.
Yours in adventure,
Bradley, and the Five Crew Canoe
Email two: 14 May, 9:32 a.m.
Yesterday, while participating in completely normal summer activities – such as going to the beach and to outdoor patios and to picnics wearing three-piece suits and flying antique kites while old-timey photographers made a moving picture of my antics – I stumbled upon a television that was still airing ice sports.
Which reminded me: I am facilitating a hockey pool.
For those of us that haven’t completely checked out – that is to say, those who still stand a chance to win this thing – here’s a quick update of what’s happened so far:
- A team with a name representing royalty, from a country that despises it, is winning more than reasonable people who know about these things think they should.
- Some teams that should have won more, didn’t.
- One team that a number of people believe should have won due to some association with a country that ‘invented’ the sport did precisely as well as they should have.
- The other team from that country lost too, making the streets of Vancouver safe for another year.
- The Five Crew Canoe Hockey Pool became woefully uninteresting, with most of the teams chosen to advance eliminated pathetically early on.
In fact, speaking to that last point, the New York Rangers are now the only team that can earn anybody in this pool any points. If they don’t win any more, it’ll all come down to how well we guessed how many games would be played in each series, making this officially the least interesting year of NHL playoffs since the previous year of NHL playoffs.
When I say ‘we’ I mean the few people at the top of the standings. I harbour no illusions that I will come back from whatever I have gotten myself into/Mongolia. Lucky for me, I still have Denny to make my misfortune seem kind of funny.
Boy am I glad I’m not that guy.
Stay tuned for the next update, which may be written while:
- Kayaking on the Ottawa river
- Fishing in the Rideau
- Biking to an ice cream shop
- Swimming at the lake
- Not participating in winter sports in any way whatsoever, because it’s May already, goddamnit.
Yours in adventure,
Bradley, and the Five Crew Canoe
Check back for updates throughout the month, and the next month, and god knows probably into June, as the playoffs seem to last forever.