Winnipeg is, and always has been, a hockey city. This central reality of the Winnipeg psyche is mythologized to great effect by Guy Maddin in My Winnipeg, as he narrates the Tale of Two Arenas and the story of the ghostly hockey team called The Black Tuesdays.
This is the segment of the film which probably contains the greatest number of actual facts. Everything is true about Eaton's, its replacement with a new downtown hockey arena and the destruction of the old Winnipeg Arena. All the hockey facts and historical photos of players are true and known to every Winnipeg fan. Even the trough urinal is true!
Quite frankly, I cannot tell if Maddin's bitter outrage about the Arena Debate and the NHL is real or satirical. But if he's a true Winnipegger (and he is), it's probably real.
The video excerpt is 10 minutes long but it's well worth your time to watch!
One of my favourite aspects is Maddin's whole riff on the homoeroticism of hockey. Yes, he goes there, a subject virtually never explored in Canada. Another example of sleepwalking?
"Erotically-charged secret slapshots!"
Smitten by a naked Soviet hockey player glimpsed in the showers as "he emerged from the steam, naked except for the lather mantling his torso," a young Maddin steals his jersey. Wearing it against his own bare skin, "I nearly fainted from the touch of its fabric, and the fear." He immediately throws the jersey into the waters of The Forks, terrified that the KGB will come after him for the theft.
Like much in this film, it's amusing and poignant all at the same time. I love it. And for those of you familiar with Quebec author Roch Carrier's iconic coming-of-age short story, Le chandail de hockey [The Hockey Sweater], I feel this story in My Winnipeg is its English Canadian equivalent, LOL!
So this concludes my series about My Winnipeg -- I hope if you ever get a chance to see this film, you will! It's a classic gem of Canadiana which plumbs the very depths of our soul, eh? Thanks for reading along, those of you who persevered this far!
holy shit..you guys are really serious about hockey..
50 years old isn't very old for a building...any politics involved there :)
Enjoyed your series ..Happy Sunday
@ Jackiesue -- Yes, hockey for us is like football for you in the USA. We don't understand why you get all worked up over that either! Enjoy the Super Bowl today and may your team win!
What a fun piece of Winnipeg history! I love that is related to what seems to be Canada's biggest passion. Our city's Eaton's equivalent (Woolworths) was recently destroyed and a hideous modern building constructed. No entertaining story there!
Ya'll do love your hockey...I would love to see a game in person there.
I've not seen The Hockey Sweater, but I'm off to look for it. Thanks for the introduction, and thanks for showcasing Winnipeg in the blogathon. :)
Incredible! What an amazing and also fun work of art.
I don't understand hockey. I can't see where the puck is going. It's too small and fast. But if Canadians love their hockey, then that's that. I can see a football, but I also do not understand football.
I really should've watched this instead of the Superbowl. The good guys (non-Trumpster team) were way ahead and then lost.
This was kind of intense, fascinating, erotica, and humorous - very well done.
wonderful video ,thank you for sharing it along with your incredible writing.
demolition is is not fun to look at ,each building has a relation to life and it's inhabitants .
Politics since beginning demolishes the humanity [mostly] and building is not a big deal for it i am sure.
My [late] father was huge fan of hockey and i used to learn from him lot about the game and specially the rules.
you chose special and interesting topic which give me new aspect and knowledge of the world unknown to me friend!
never so a hockey match in my life, it is not so popular in our country since ice rinks take a lot of money, but I think we do have a small team in my city, they can only practice over winter since we do not have a covered ice stadium for them
There's a homoeroticism to most sports really. At the heart of it; sports are teams of physically impressive men getting sweaty together and clashing in acts of testosterone fuelled rage.
Interesting about the movie. Somehow, I have never been interested in sports. I am too much of a girly girl...LOL I do hate to see those sweaty men getting banged up.
Well, I wasn't sure I'd be able to pull anything else out of the bag, but you lobbed me a softball!
Neil Young's father was the host of 'Hockey Night in Canada' and Neil grew up as obsessed with Hockey as every young Canuck. Hey, he's got season tickets to the Winnipeg Jets, no matter what shitty stadium they play in. True blue son of the Prairie!
I've certainly enjoyed the glimpse of unreality that 'My Winnipeg' offers. Thank you for the eye-opener. Maybe I'll watch it in its entirety with my Edmontonian neighbors... I hope they won't sneer. Probably not, they are much too Canadian for that.
Ahahaha I remember the urinal trough!!! ;)
@ MrsDuncanMahogany -- But . . . but . . . surely not from PERSONAL use? Or is there a great story behind that?
@ e -- D'oh! I forgot that Scott Young was a sports writer and sportscaster. He wrote many novels about sports for young people, one of which about basketball was a favourite of mine, I recall. Can't remember what it was called now though.
Cultural events like this movie are just another reason I love my Northern neighbors. I really need to get back to Winterpeg. Just in the summer, though.
Goodness gracious, those shower scenes are steamy and then some!
I do love the Maddin's over-the-top style. I was telling my Piano Man about My Winnipeg and we've decided to watch the whole thing together.
Thank you for always sharing pure yumminnes!
Thanks for the post.
I'm not into sports but I am into things like The Great British Bake Off (before it change and Mel and Sue left). But Tim said that I would enjoy hockey. He watches just the Steelers.
Oh my - that shower scene just played out in my head!
My boyfriend loves lives and breathes HOCKEY!!!
But...that's ok...at least I know where he is! hahaha!!
Really, really enjoyed your posts Debra!!!
Now, I have to go back and look at the shower scene one more time! LOL!
"Urine! Breast milk! Sweat! The hockey cathedral's holy trinity of odors!"
I love Canadian humor. Also, apparently I have never enjoyed a hockey game the way it was truly meant to be enjoyed.
When I lived in Louisiana, I used to watch live hockey there. It was a total blast. They supported their local sports team like nobody's business. Good times, good times.
While it is probably being somewhat unAmerican, I much prefer to watch hockey over football. My son had a partial scholarship to college on a hockey scholarship so I am a fan in more ways than just watching.
I miss going to Quebec. It is a beautiful city. We went there a lot when my brother in law lived with his family in Montreal. Now as we are getting older and since he has moved out of there, my husband does not get motivated to visit Quebec.
The Chicago Cubs baseball park has trough urinals.
The park recently had a $300 renovation. When asked about the urinals - Cubs spokesman and urinal user Julian Green told me that while the park's bathrooms will be expanded and some standard, one-man urinals (let's call them "short troughs") added, the historic communal tinkle traps will remain in place.
Need to watch that one when I have time.
I so get this as a Canadian, if not a Winnipegger! And thanks for the steamy Soviet shower scene. That heated up my morning! I share Maddin's outrage about the arena debate and the NHL. We taxpayers in the USA have had to shovel out a lot of taxpayer money to replaces arenas and stadiums so the wealthy can revel in their luxury boxes. btw, I couldn't not watch the whole film! Have a good one!
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