Every year, our friends and neighbours put together a playoff hockey pool. The brackets are distributed as soon as they are made known by the league, we make our picks, and all chip in five bucks to the pot. My whole family participates so an entire dinner hour was spent discussing our picks and Skyping in our oldest son away at university to ensure his picks were made as well. There was certainly more than a few surprise early exits in the first round, but it looks like I’m holding strong in the standings so far. Not as well as my daughter, though, who pays no attention whatsoever to the regular season statistics and instead bases all her picks on the team’s home city’s reputation for shopping. Go ahead and laugh but you should also know she’s won this hockey pool twice in the past ten years employing this strategy, which only reinforces the fact that, ‘anything can happen in the playoffs.’
My whole life as a hockey mom seems to resemble a playoff pool and the matchups always seem to be the same.
First there’s the sleep versus fatigue challenge – no clear winner in that series for many years to come. Then there’s white hockey tape versus black hockey tape – odds are fifty-fifty in that one. Socks versus sandals is always a fun one to watch this time of year but as summer hockey camps and 4-on-4 leagues get going, we all know sandals might have a stronger chance. Advil versus Tylenol is also another interesting match to watch but we’ll have to wait out the finish of the coffee versus Fireball, or screw top versus cork series to know for sure how it will end. I think it’s safe to call nine ounces the winner in the matchup between nine ounces and six ounces, since nine ounces beat out six ounces every single time during the regular season (so let’s just call that one now, shall we?).
Let’s not forget that the kids’ conference have some interesting pairings too. White skate laces versus coloured skate laces truly depends on how the regular season finished. White laces took over from pink ones for a while, but then purple made a real push in the final few games. As for the hair competition, the hockey flow was always a clear favourite in our household when pitted against dyed hair. In the water bottle conference, it’s a tough call in Gatorade versus water, though we know water’s statistics are much better on the wallet. We all know that every single time sleepovers faces its arch nemesis, homework, there’s always a lot penalty calls and game misconducts.
For sure my hockey mom playoff brackets are just for fun but that's not the case for the real playoff pool, which is taken quite seriously indeed. Time will tell who will hoist the Cup, and who will pocket our fifty dollar playoff pot.
Three cheers for the playoff matchups – the real ones and the hockey life ones. I hope you made your picks wisely!
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