Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Hockey Nomad - A Review

The Washington Capitals and Arabic hockey players have one thing in common. They practice and sometimes play at a mall.

The Arabic teams are just one of a few who under strange circumstances, enjoy the game of hockey as seen in Dave Bidini's documentary, "The Hockey Nomad."

Bidini takes viewers on a journey to find places where hockey is played free from the complications of professional sports.

His journey starts in the United Arab Emirates with the Mighty Camels Tournament in Dubai. There teams from the middle east take on ex-pat Canadians. Bidini shows us a team that has two faiths, Islam, and hockey. For the Arabs the tournament is more than a game, but a chance to prove that even a desert nation can keep pace with Canada on the ice.

Bidini then travels to Transylvania, home of Vlad the Impaler (who probably invented the penalty spearing...)

Bidini visits the town of Ciuc whose rivalry against Bucharest, Romania is a symbol of an age-old struggle. The poor (Ciuc) vs. the privileged (Bucharest), the oppressed vs. the oppressor. During Communist rule in Romania, Transylvanians could only sing their anthem or speak their language at the hockey rink. The rivalry is a game of pride for Ciuc, and the battles between the teams are violent affairs requiring riot police to stand at guard around the rink.

The last locality Bidini visits is Ulaan Baater, Mongolia, where due to water restrictions, the local hockey club may not be able to make a rink to start it's season. There Bidini learns that the NHL dream extends even to those who can barely put together a hockey rink in time for opening day.

The Hockey Nomad is a short 58-minute film that illustrates how hockey can create the same passion we feel for the Capitals in the most remote places.

You will feel an instant connection to the fans in Dubai when Bidini sings "The Good Old Hockey Game," and fans rhythmically clap along as we do at the Verizon Center.

The Hockey Nomad illustrates that ice hockey and sports in general can flourish where there is a passion for the game even if you live in a desert.


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