Ice hockey is a Canadian sport. It always will be a Canadian sport.
Over the past 100 or so years, the game has slowly crept into the United States, college hockey teams forming in the late 19th century and the National Hockey League shortly thereafter.
It’s important to pay homage to a country where a sport was invented. For ice hockey, most rinks at the collegiate and professional level around America do so by hanging a Canadian flag next to the Stars and Stripes. This way, the game’s roots are recognized and respected.
Fast forward to Sept. 28. I attended the women’s ice hockey exhibition vs. Guelph, the team’s first contest of the season against a university located in the city of the same name in Ontario, Canada.
Having the Quinnipiac women’s ice hockey team start its season with a Canadian exhibition is nothing new. Last year, Quinnipiac opened its 2012-13 campaign against the Cambridge Jr. Rivulettes. The year before, the Bobcats began their season against the Durham Jr. Lightning.
After Quinnipiac and Guelph took to the blue lines following introductions, the two teams turned to face the student end zone at High Point Solutions Arena at TD Bank Sports Center, where the American flag hangs. Due to Guelph being a Canadian school, it was announced that the Canadian national anthem would be played, followed by the Star Spangled Banner.
And then it dawned on me.
There was no Canadian flag at High Point Solutions Arena.
As the Canadian national anthem played throughout the rink, the Guelph women’s ice hockey looked confused. Some looked down, others away.
Why? Because the flag that represents where the game was invented was not hanging.
According to the Quinnipiac men’s and women’s ice hockey rosters, several members of each team are of Canadian origin. For the men’s team, 11 of 26 players are Canadian, representing 42 percent of the squad. For the women’s team, 11 of 24 players are Canadian, 45 percent of the team.
More than enough if you ask me, never mind the members of other NCAA ice hockey teams.
So then let’s take this one step further, looking at the rinks around the league.
The majority of ECAC Hockey rinks have both American and Canadian flags. Nine of the 12 rinks in the conference have both flags, Harvard, Yale and Quinnipiac being the only exceptions.
It is also disappointing that Canadian teams will visit one of the top ice hockey facilities in the country, only to discover that the Maple Leaf is not there.
Hanging a Canadian flag at the TD Bank Sports Center can be done. It’s time to recognize the home of many student-athletes, as it is only fair to give them proper representation and to honor the country in which the game began.
As of Oct. 6, only an American flag hangs at High Point Solutions Arena. Will a Canadian flag soon join it in its rightful place sometime later this school year? Hopefully so.
And before I forget, Harvard and Yale might want to get on that too.