Canadian Alpine Ski Team's Sam Mulligan recalls 2020 Hockey Night In Wengen

Article #3398
Published By: Kathy Stahr

Hello fellow screen people! Recently Ive been spending some time on my own, watching a lot of things, hearing a lot of news, seeing a lot of memes, basically just consuming content at an unprecedented pace. My poor little brain is just vacuuming information, and like my bedroom, Im not storing things in a way that is efficient or that makes sense.  Its actually gotten to the point where Im starting to forget who I talked to and about what, or where I heard that joke. I could have sworn Jim from the Office was the anchor on The National last night. My brain is like one of those DJ Earworm united state of pop” mashups (might need to be born in the 90s for that I dunno), and Im just trying to piece everything together. 

That being said, hard text message evidence suggests that Roger asked me to write something two weeks ago, and I dont think claiming to lose track of days of the week is a good excuse. I guess Ive been busy. No, I havent. Truth Is, I havent FELT LIKE IT! Not everyone can make sourdough AND master everything AND do the perfect push-up. Well, Im writing it now, and I know you guys are still around so what was the big rush anyway Rog? If your attention span was long enough to weather that intro, heres a story from a night in Wengen. Im pretty sure it happened, but who knows these days.

WENGEN. A quick google search will tell you Its a Swiss Alpine village in the Bernese Oberland region, known for its timber chalets and belle epoque hotels.” Sounds cute! Its also home to the longest downhill in the world, featuring jumps through rocks, cat-tracks, a tunnel (wtf!?) speeds over 145km, and a bottom section that can crumple Steven Nymans legs and make Brodie less handsome (Steves Handsomeness is intact dont worry). What most people dont know, is that nestled in this town of timber chalets, you will find the field of dreams of outdoor rinks. After the dust of Saturday's big race settles, an international field laces up for the biggest friendly competition of the year, its Hockey Night in Wengen. 

Saturday night, 8 pm (or so): After fueling up with cheese and dessert, negotiating the street party, and finding a pair of skates that sort of fit, here we are! 

Teams are arranged by shirt colour, and these men in black become my ride or die. My teammates include French Man-Rocket Blaize Giezendanner, US team doctor (known as Doc), and Cameron, who apparently is just learning how to skate (but did come 19th in the ski race). Team White/Grey is a bunch of hacks, lead by FIS Mike” (whose rules dont apply here!). Mike is backed by supporting acts like Jack I played Hockey with McDavid” Crawford, and Daron Rahlvess kid, who I could totally beat up if I could just catch him. There was also an unknown Swiss man in a fully matching neon green outfit with green shin guards and hat. I think he was assigned to the white team. 

8:15 (wild guess) puck drop: It's ON. Jack has the puck (this would become a theme). Ping! Puck in our net. Big smile on Jack's face, everyone makes sure to not congratulate him or acknowledge the goal.

I realize I was tired before we even started. I dont skate to be efficient, I skate to win. I also skate poorly. After a rough start, we bounce back in a BIG way. Turns out Blaize played hockey growing up. He sheds a layer to reveal a Calgary Flames shirt. He starts putting his body on the line and quickly becomes the snowiest person on the ice. Grit. Selfless. A true black shirt. The whole team feeds off this energy. We start flinging pucks aimlessly, and the bench erupts: get pucks deep!” The puck eventually finds the stick of our cherry picker Cam, wide open! The whole place is going nuts, were about to go bar down on these dorks! Cam winds up… and misses by a shockingly large amount. I keel over in laughter. If I wasn’t dehydrated I might have peed myself. 

TWO HOURS LATER (Spongebob voice): GAME OVER! There were no periods, or time, or any way of knowing when the end would come, but Im glad it did. There was no official score, but based on the smiles on all faces and level of exhaustion Id say it was a TIE. The Doc is already handing out prescriptions, and an American coach is finishing up the last of his sports drink (red wine). Jack informs us he scored 13 goals or something. Still not sure if he expected us to believe that OR be impressed (Ah I miss you Jack!). We then limped back to the hotel to grab a drink, make up more stories, and share a few more laughs. I slept well that night.

Looking back on this season already seems like a blur. I think thats a good thing because we should live in the present anyways. When I look back though, the things I remember the most clearly are the moments I get to spend with people I enjoy being around, doing my best no matter how pointless the objective is, and laughing at how ridiculous this all is. My life might be a DJ Earworm mashup, but its a banger!

Sam Mulligan (CAST)

PHOTO CREDIT (ski image above):
GEPA pictures/Harald Steiner, Mar 6/20 in Kvitfjell, Norway

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