The NHL regular season has finally arrived, and you know what that means: Everywhere you go, all anyone wants to talk about hockey! (If you're in Canada, "everyone" is everyone. If you're in the United States, "everyone" is that one really polite guy at work who talks kind of slow and might secretly be Canadian.)
But what if you're not a hockey fan? You could become one, but that sounds like work. No, what you want is to be able to plausibly fake it. So today, I'm going to walk you through the five key skills you'll need to pretend to be a hockey fan even though you're not.
Skill #1: Blame Gary Bettman for everything
Bettman has been NHL commissioner since 1993, and everything bad that has ever happened is his fault. I don't mean everything bad in the NHL since 1993—literally everything bad is a direct result of Bettman's existence. The 2004 lockout that wiped out an entire season? Bettman. The loser point? Bettman. That time in 1988 when two guys in raincoats ended up officiating a playoff game? Bettman. The routing of the French nobles at the Battle of Courtrai? Partly the marshy terrain and strategic positional advantage of the Flemish forces, but mostly Bettman.
I really can't stress this point enough: If you're going to fake your way through hockey fandom, complaining about Gary Bettman is the single most important skill you can learn. Get really good at it, and you might even get a job in the hockey media.
If you're ever involved in a conversation about hockey that you're not really following and it suddenly gets quiet and everyone looks at you like it's your turn to speak, just shake your head grimly and mutter "fucking Bettman." Then get ready for a round of high-fives.