“Which English expression do you think best represents Canada?”

A few years ago, I asked my ESL students this question.  They had been living in Canada for about 6 months, and I was curious to hear what they’d say.

The most memorable answer came from a retired mathematician in my class.  He was a tall, distinguished Iranian gentleman with a lust for language and turtleneck sweaters.  With a smile, he answered:

“Keep your stick on the ice.”

I almost fell off my chair!  What a perfect answer!  Not only does it represent Canada’s love for hockey, but, in my opinion, it truly expresses the Canadian attitude.

‘Keep your stick on the ice’ means to ‘never give up’, ‘stay focused’, and ‘do your best’.

Today the NHL season officially begins. ( NHL stands for the National Hockey League.  The organization started on November 26, 1917 .  Hockey, as you may or may not realize, is an incredibly important part of Canadian culture…it’s our national winter sport.  In fact, I’d say that hockey is to Canadians as air is to humans.  We NEED IT to live. 🙂

When living in a new country, I strongly recommend getting involved in all aspects of its culture.  You’ll see that the NHL hockey teams will be on TV almost every night soon.  The Toronto Maple Leafs, the Ottawa Senators, and the Montreal Canadiens are all extremely exciting teams to watch.  Better than hockey on TV though, is live hockey!  Every one of our university partners boasts an exciting hockey culture that you should really check out!

If you are studying at CultureWorks in London, Western’s hockey team are The Mustangs:



If you are at our CultureWorks Oshawa campus, UOIT’s hockey team are The Ridgebacks:



If you at CultureWorks Ottawa, Carleton’s hockey team are The Ravens:



Whether you are playing hockey or learning English, keep your stick on the ice, my friends!  Any guess what ‘Keep your eye on the puck’, means?

Here’s a quick video ‘teaser’ to get you in the mood for the 2013/2014 hockey season: