Hockey Night in the Czech Republic

It’s hockey season again, and the NHL has decided to kick things off with a pair of games right here in Prague. The Czechs are excited about it; the matchup is the team that Jagr used to be on versus the team that Prospal is on, but the ticket prices are outrageous, so I am at the Budvar Bar Near Home (Budvar is the hockey beer). The game is in the first intermission, tied 0-0, and it’s been pretty exciting.

Yet, despite the full stadium, the crowd seems quiet. Sure there’s plenty of shouting going on, but something is missing. Finally I realized what it was: There’s no one playing drums! There aren’t any horns blowing Poot Poot Poot-poot-poot — Poot-poot. There isn’t even an accordion that I’ve noticed. I guess the drum corps comes out for the home team, and neither one of these teams is home. (Note to self: when I own an NHL team and it’s playing here, recruit a drum squad. The rest of the crowd will assume that my team is their team. Instant home ice advantage!)

This is a country that brings their drums to tennis tournaments (that is not an exaggeration – at the Davis Cup match between the US and ČR the drummers were out in force). The real shame is that the US television audience has no idea what they’re missing, and the Czechs are missing a chance to show the rest of the world how things are done here.

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