Last January, Edmonton coach Craig MacTavish tried to silence the Calgary Flames mascot, Harvey the Hound, by Talibanically tearing out its tongue and tossing it to the braying crowd. That instantly evoked fond memories of Cincinnati Cyclones coach Don Jackson, eight years earlier, speedbagging the oversized melon of Atlanta Knights mascot Sir Slapshot.
Sir Slapshot. Hockey history is enlivened by jaunty names redolent of monarchy. Rather than awards crassly named for corporate sponsors—Rolaids Relief Man, Edge MVP—hockey names its trophies for people who were, to judge by their names, colleagues of the man on the Monopoly card: King Clancy, Lady Byng, Lord Stanley. Hockey's most euphonious aristocrat played just a single NHL game, for the New York Rangers in 1948. He was named, blessedly, Larry (King) Kwong.
In 1843 Charles Goodyear removed sulphur from rubber, which he then heated, rendering the rubber waterproof and winter-proof. Voila, vulcanized rubber. Which is why Al MacInnis—hockey's real Sir Slapshot—shoots frozen pucks today and not stale Ding Dongs. MacInnis, unlike Allen Iverson, really does break ankles, another advantage hockey holds over hoops.
Vulcanization also made possible snow tires, which in turn made possible the Zamboni, which in turn made possible the intermission beer run for either brand: Molson or Labatt's.
For this time of year, the mind turns to Canadian beer and nachos avec fromage, and one's storehouse of hockey memories. All of which—the beer, the nachos, the memories—are like the Zamboni itself. Which is to say, they resurface periodically.