Canada’s church of hockey ready for mass again

MONTREAL and CALGARY — The Globe and Mail
Published Sunday, Jan. 06 2013, 10:58 PM EST
Last updated Monday, Jan. 07 2013, 4:52 PM EST

It was in the eyes of the eight-year-old boy wearing an oversized NHL jersey, the teenager mopping the floor of the near-empty Montreal Bell Centre, the hockey dad counting the days until he could watch the Saturday night game with his kids.

In simplest terms, a labour conflict has ended and everyone was going back to work. But to those three Canadians and many more, what happened on Sunday morning in the dawning days of 2013 restored a piece of their lives that had gone missing, leaving something off-kilter.

The two sides in the 113-day NHL lockout had reached a deal. Life in Canada in winter was about to be as it should be, with pucks, penalties and dreams of the Stanley Cup. “Hockey’s a religion here and it was like we couldn’t go to mass,” fan Pierre Charron said in the red seats of Montreal’s Bell Centre, where he’d turned up to watch the main hockey action around – a Peewee tournament…

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