HAND-TO-HAND, POLAR BEAR STYLE
Many years ago I was listening to Peter Gzowski on Morningside talk to an Inuit fellow from the Arctic who had just fought a polar bear, hand-to-hand. He and his wife were out checking their trapline, and arrived at one of their cabins. He was outside getting some more wood while she was inside starting the fire, when a polar bear attacked him. She heard the commotion and came outside to find her husband and the polar bear standing face-to-face grappling. She went back inside and got the rifle but she couldn't get a clear shot. The husband said that when he was young his grandfather told him two things to remember if he ever had to fight the polar bear. Put your arm up vertically against his snout because he can't turn his jaws sideways and wouldn't be able to bite you. That's what he did ... and it was working ! The second thing his grandfather told him was to try to tickle him hard in his armpits because sometimes they were ticklish. Well he tried that too, and sure enough he had a ticklish one. The bear jumped backwards, landed on his butt, got up, and beat a hasty retreat.
Many years later at work one day, as I was lining my cross shift up for his shift, I was telling him that story ... I can't remember how it came up, but I was telling the story. As I was telling it, he started smiling ... then he started laughing ... bouncing in his chair ... I hadn't even gotten to the funny part yet. I said : " What ? " He said :" I know that guy ! " I said : " How could you possibly know an Inuit guy from the Arctic ? " He said : " When I was a kid I went up there to play hockey in a tournament and I was billeted with his family. He told me that story sitting at his kitchen table ! "
Hockey really is woven into the Canadian fabric in all sorts of subtle ways.