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Bertuzzi: Is it any wonder?

Hockey is really a sensational game.

It’s so good the first time I saw it I was inspired to learn how to skate so I could slide around and check all my friends into the nearest tangible object.

Unfortunately, there’s hardly any ice where I’m from.

In fact there’s only one major ice rink in all of greater Sydney (although I’m told they’re building another one), which means about five million people have had to share one rink.

But the most amazing thing about this one rink is that it hosts a hockey league.

It is a true testament to how insane Australians are about sport, particularly contact sport, that there is actually a hockey league on the only rink in Sydney.

The public uses that same rink and Olympians such as speed skating legend Stephen Bradbury have used it.

But despite the constant commotion at the Macquarie ice rink, somehow hockey fans in Australia have found a way to set up a league.

Granted, the league’s mostly made up of Canadians on holidays or Canucks who have married Australian women, but it’s a league nonetheless.

From what I understand the teams train and play once a week for about 10 or 12 weeks and they have a learn-to-skate session running for most of the year.

For interested pundits it’s easy to follow because the teams involved only play one game a week.

With only one game a week there aren’t too many injuries either, which means most of the players can train and also work in paying jobs.

The major sporting competitions in Australia are a lot more complex than Sydney’s hockey league but, fortunately, they have one thing in common and it is that most teams, regardless of what competition they’re playing in, play only once a week.

During winter, which is nothing like a Canadian winter because there’s hardly any snow, most Australians follow the Australian Football League (AFL), the National Rugby League (NRL) or the Super 12 (rugby).

In summer Australians follow cricket, soccer, tennis and basketball, but there’s also baseball, netball and surf sports.

Winter is the best season for contact sports; every weekend there’s a plethora of big hits to watch.

But the best thing about it is that, unlike North American sporting competitions, you can actually follow most of the teams in any one of the major competitions.

In the AFL Collingwood supporters know just how much the rest of the clubs in the AFL dislike their chief executive.


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