NHL Stanley Cup

Welcome, Richard, to the Mode 7 Program!

From the diary of Richard Ashcroft, circa July 19, 1993:

Dear Diary,

It’s been seven weeks since I entered the Dome.  I think. I haven’t seen the sun in so long.  Seven weeks without food.  I’ll be dead in eight, doctors say.  I’ve been licking ice off the floor for sustenance.  I don’t even know if it’s real ice.  I can’t tell what’s real and what’s not anymore.  I keep seeing things.  People playing hockey, mostly.  Except I’m like this camera, floating and zooming around the rink.  Oh, it’s so fast, pulling in and out like an elastic band.  I feel like throwing up.  I always feel like throwing up, but I can’t.  There’s nothing left to chuck, just stomach acid bubbling and burning against the back of my throat.  It’s like, every fibre of your being wants to scream, and then you realise: you have no tongue.


Are the others still in here, alive? I’m convinced I’ve gone quite mad.  I can see me down there, shuffling and tripping on the ice, but I’m not in there, I’m not!  I’m still here and all I can do is watch.  Watch them thresh about with sticks in their fruity colours.

What am I even doing here?  Is this some kind of sick practical joke?  What if everyone else has already gone home and forgotten about me?  When I signed up for the Mode 7 program they told me it would be a simulation, just a bit of a lark.  They never told me it would be like this.  All I wanted was the hundred quid they promised in the advert.  Oh well.  Just one more week and it’ll all be over, one way or another.

I wrote a pop song yesterday.  I might record it if I ever make it out of here:

No change I can't change I can't change I can't change / But I'm here in my Mode / I am here in my Mode / But I'm a million different people / From one day to the next / I can't change my Mode, no, no, no, no, no-oo-oooo...

The Devil has a new number.  It’s my number: 7.

Mode 7.

Hit the Ice

I must have mentioned a thousand times that I am Australian, as if to frame the context of my every crazy word, but I’ll be damned if I don’t mention it again.  For my general ineptitude in discussing activities that take place beyond the freezing point of water will soon present itself, and I don’t want you thinking that I’m a bad American or a bad Canadian or whatever.

I’ll say it again, I am Australian, and as such, I can only be trusted in discussing activities that take place beyond the boiling point of water (and human flesh – oh yes, it’s a charmed life).

So here is an ice hockey game, and here is the sum total I know about the sport of ice hockey:

  • The Mighty Ducks are a team, and they play for Disney.
  • It’s on ice (so when The Mighty Ducks play, it’s Disney on Ice).
  • Before The Mighty Ducks play or train, Emilio Estevez says “let’s hit the ice!”
  • The goal is to mash your opponents into a bloody paste.  Preferably into the walls.

I noticed that The Disney© Mighty Ducks™ are not a playable team in Hit the Ice, but the title itself is a choice Emilio Estevez quote, so I’ll let it slide.  In fact, I’m reasonably certain that none of these teams exist in real life:

Hmmm...the Reds, Yellows, Whites, but no Blacks?  Methinks this game might be a tad bit racist.  I think I'll choose 'Whites'.
Hmmm...the Reds, Yellows, Whites, but no Blacks? Methinks this game might be a tad bit racist. I think I'll choose 'Whites'.

Then you choose your player.  That’s funny, my name is a decidedly Russian Ivan Yakashev, but The Reds get these good solid, American names like Phil Bunker and “Gunner” Hall (I see a military theme emerging here).  Good ol’ Phil does look a little like our Comrade, Zangief, though:

Ooh, the map looks a little bit like Street Fighter, too!  Waittaminutethough, I can see two red things flickering – let me see if I can screencap that…AH-HA!

Notice the RED STAR and the HAMMER AND SICKLE in the corner?!
Notice the RED STAR and the HAMMER AND SICKLE in the northwest corner?! And "TORONTONE"?!

This is Russian subversion, my friends of Freedom and Democracy.  Do I even need to spell it out for you?  Ice Hockey = Cold War?

Then the scoreboard rolls down, adorned by the Stars and Stripes and the Maple Leaf, accompanied by a stunning pipe organ rendition of “in the la-and of the free, and the hooome of the braaaaave!”  Ah, clever Russians!


The umpire clambers nervously to the centre of the rink.  The organ builds in tempo and dynamics to a triumphant fortissimo: “DA-DA-DA DAA DA-DAAA!”  The war has begun.  Blades of wood thresh violently against the cold air, feeling for the elusive obsidian gem like an old man for his dentures on the bedside table.  Hooking, slicing, Ivan Yakashev topples to the ground – those filthy Reds have the puck!  “Gunner” Hall passes to Phil “Zangief” Bunker, who in turn twists his torso with robotic spring precision for the slapshot.

"GOAL!" the screen proudly declares in Soviet Propaganda font.
"GOAL!" the screen proudly declares in Soviet Propaganda font.

But Ivan is fuming with White hot rage.  The organist, noticing this, plays the ominous “Dum—de-DUM-DUM DAAA!” theme from Dragnet.  The message is clear: there is going to be a fight.  Sticks fly in the air – they will not be needed.  The world gasps in awe, and all eyes are fixed on these two Frost Giants, exchanging blow for Titan blow.

Take that, you Commie bastard!
Take that, you Commie bastard!

Brains addled, eyes narrowed, it no longer matters who is Russian or Aryan, Master or Slave – all that remains is Man and Man – primordial Warriors of the Ice.

Hit the Ice is not an impressive Emilio Estevez quote; it’s a chilling vision of the Russian Ideal:

A World of Ice.  A World Without Disney.  A World of Vodka and Violence.