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Advice For Non-Hockey Fan Marriages

by Mike Ulmer / Toronto Maple Leafs

When the Leafs opened against Montreal, I noticed couples where one spouse wore a Habs sweater and the other sported blue and white.

This now passes for what used to be called a mixed marriage.

Today is my wedding anniversary. My marriage is more mixed than most.

The Missus hates hockey. She hates it the way a kid decides to hate something and then doggedly follows through to her last breath. Don’t try to get me to eat macaroni and cheese.
Don’t rhapsodize to her about hockey.

She grew up in a farmhouse atop a hill. Only three stations were available on winter Saturday nights. The men watched the Leafs game. She chafed in the kitchen. Kids, in those days there was no Facebook to be found.

She opted out on hockey and has not opted in since.

For all she knows, Borje Salming cut himself shaving.

For all she knows Ace Bailey was a World War I pilot.

For all she knows Clarke MacArthur is a legal firm.

For all she knows Aki Berg is the Prime Minister of Israel.

For all she knows Tie Domi is Asian food, Tim Horton invented coffee, Ric Jackman plays Wolverine, Rod Seiling wrote the Twilight Zone and Ted Kennedy is a deceased US Senator. She believes I made up Dale Smedsmo.

For all she knows, Dion sang with the Belmonts and Mike Brown was my mom’s neighbour on Winther Avenue.

It’s not easy to live with someone with fanatical interests but I manage quite nicely.

She only believes I am working on Saturday nights when she toggles past the Leaf game en route to some movie like The Woman Who Cared for Elephants or The Banjo Player’s Requiem.  She has stopped waiting for the camera to pan the press box. A good marriage runs on trust.

We have been to one Leafs game together. It was in 1984. Rick Vaive scored two goals. She remembers the chicken fingers were a little greasy.

She thinks economics not Matt Lombardi when the talk focuses on free trade.

We are like those Habs/Leafs couples except that she doesn’t go to hockey games and chooses her colours not on glorious tradition but rather the ease of accessorizing.

She has been with the marital firm for 26 years.  I reminded her that my parents’ union ended after 26 years but as we spat out our toothpaste I cautioned her against getting her hopes up just yet.

For all of you in a mixed marriage, I offer this advice. Encourage your wife towards her passions, even if it means fretting over Keon’s grades and Yolanda’s demand that she be allowed to wear makeup at eight years old.

Don’t forget Foster’s heartworm pills and veterinary appointments. Clean Harold’s littler box fastidiously.

For God’s sake, learn from your mistakes. Don’t tell her she is going Brophy if her hair shows a little grey.

When she speaks of an important anniversary, do not mention the Doug Gilmour trade.

And this is important: when she mentions waxing she is talking about her legs not your handlebar mustache.

Briefly: After a round of golf, the Leafs break camp from CFB Trenton Wednesday afternoon and return to Toronto for practice on Thursday. The Leafs may look at going tough-guy free Saturday against Calgary. The return of Clarke MacArthur from suspension will create ripples down the lineup. Matt Frattin will bounce down to the third line with Colby Armstrong and Matt Lombardi. That leaves Philippe Dupuis, David Steckel and Mike Brown for the fourth line and no room at least for now for Colton Orr and Jay Rosehill. Brown is the only forward whose fame is largely built on fisticuffs. In case you are wondering, the Leafs did play several games last season with Brown as the only tough guy. Rosehill played only 22 of the 35 games in which Orr was not available due to concussion. ..Defenceman Cody Franson will get his first start Saturday. Look for Jake Gardiner to be bumped to the press box to make room for Franson. ..The Leafs can’t do much to hurry Tim Connolly’s return from an upper body injury. He is likely to miss Saturday’s game against Calgary but they are no doubt comforted by the ten points and plus 10 aggregate furnished by his replacement Tyler Bozak who has starred with Phil Kessel and Joffrey Lupul. ..Nazem Kadri is back sooner than expected after a knee sprain.  The Marlies play three games this weekend including the home opener Saturday. They then play the next Saturday and Sunday.  Kadri seems a good bet for some of those games.
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