Exactly one week after my trek beyond the outer limits of the 401 East, and by that I mean, Montreal, I found myself retracing my steps and bound for our nation’s capital. Of course, Scotiabank Place is quiet these days with the NHL on hiatus for the Olympics and all, so this time around I was headed to the previously unexplored Urbandale Centre, home of the Ottawa 67’s of the Ontario Hockey League. Fun times.
Back in the day, I had this notion that there was a heavy puck bunny scene down in Ottawa, and the locals, who were around during this reign of terror, confirmed that I wasn’t off in my assumptions. Back then I had based this idea on those puck bunny rumour sites that I mentioned a few weeks ago. Not only was there a lot of activity coming directly from the puck bunny sites dedicated to the 67’s, but there was a lot of inquiries made about gals spotted rink side on the players’ moderated sites as well. If players from around the O were so intrigued by the puck bunny caliber in Ottawa that they had to find out who these girls were at all costs, then obviously these O-Town bunnies were, at one time, a force to be reckoned with. This high puck quality suggests a higher puck quantity as well…you know…seeing as most hockey players will attempt to nail practically anything that moves. Anyway…
However, the old days appeared to be long gone (once again) as I walked into yet another OHL rink with a virtually extinct puck bunny population. Aside from the odd cluster here and there, and rumours that some of the ice girls were partial to hanging around the locker rooms a little longer than they should, there was almost no sign that these girls ever existed. Since the game against the Erie Otters and the trip itself were so uneventful (the highlights being running into the team bus after I finished pumping gas in Brockville, and discovering that the Urbandale Centre had its very own BeaverTails stand), I had more than enough time to reexamine some of my going theories about the disappearance of the puck bunny.
To begin the brainstorming process, I had to take a trip back in time to my teen years, and start identifying some of the things that have changed socially since this golden era when the puck bunny reigned supreme from their junior hockey rink thrones across the country. The easiest thing to identify was the physical change; teen girls today look a lot different from the teens roaming this side of the planet less than ten years ago. Girls are aging (aesthetically) at a faster pace, for starters. You can blame the trendsetters in Hollywood for trying to convince the world that we’re unhealthy if we don’t have skin damage from the sun. And let’s not forget that fake is in: fake tans, fake boobs, fake nails, fake hair, fake personality; women today are starting to look like a page aggressively ripped from the binding of the latest Us Weekly – the SAME page no less.
Naturally, this started to make me question to state of desire, and what was now considered desirable to the young, contemporary female who subscribed to these ideals. My major jumping off point was the designer handbag, sunglasses, and pretty much everything uprising. See, about fifteen years ago (I’d say), lower end designers came on in full force with that whole “brand name” rage that swept the impressionable youth of its day. You remember when brands like Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, etc started becoming the it-designers for the middle class for the simple reason that they started splashing their name across the chest of every shirt they shipped to the department store nearest you. This began the designer obsession on the sole basis that now other people would be able to know how much you could afford to spend on material things, and how well you dressed just by simply reading the logo stamped in bold on the clothing item itself. Now, I’m not saying people never cared about fashion before that, but labels had never really been seen on the outside of a dress or a shirt, or, or, or before. Let’s just say keeping up appearances suddenly got a whole lot easier.
It took the upscale designers a surprisingly long time to get on board with this concept. Well, I shouldn’t say “surprisingly,” I’m sure the upper crust was not about to start begging for mass consumption as the likes of Tommy and Calvin were so eager to do. So, it wasn’t until I was in university, and long estranged from the junior hockey realm that the designer handbag fever swept the western world. What a brilliant idea. High end designers like Gucci, Prada, Louis Vuitton, and Chanel, all began producing purses in mass with their logo as the very pattern of the fabric. Without lowering the cost of the product, the designer handbag brigade began making purses that could be identified visually as being an icon of the upper class. Sure, before this era began, you COULD have spent all your hard earned money on a black Chanel purse that no one would know was Chanel except for the fashion obsessed (and even still, they’d probably just assume it was fake), but I think you can all see how much more appealing it would be to acquire this status item, if most people could identify it as such, and, therefore, you can also see how people would be all the more willing to throw down a cool grand if they can fake having this lifestyle for whatever reason or whatever pleasure they derive from doing so.
At first I complicated my theory unnecessarily. I started looking at the bigger picture of what such consumerism and such materialism was doing to the motivation of a young and impressionable society. Perhaps, this new age suggested that more and more women were signing up for the life of a gold-digger, and, perhaps, junior hockey players were small fish to fry in the grander scheme of NHL players and investment bankers. I decided, however, that, if there was something to this designer handbag theory, the cause could be found in the simplistic. These young pucks, running around with their Coach bags and Armani sunglasses, are, quite simply, TOO BROKE to afford hockey tickets. Sure, OHL games are cheap, but if you’re in high school, and either have no job or, if you do, you work at McDonald’s, you likely can’t afford to have your cake and eat it too. Especially when you consider that the designer purses, shoes, jeans also have to be constantly maintained with hair dye and trips to the tanning salon. And let me tell you, it used to cost me $250 a month just to maintain blonde hair – that’s a car payment for some people! Anyway, in the bigger picture, most puck bunnies realize that hockey players are hard birds to cage, and, therefore, attempting to impress the rest of the world becomes a much more lucrative investment.
Of course, not ALL puck bunnies play their games while rink side. Many junior level puck bunnies use the high school campus as a much more accessible hunting ground. However, that’s another story for another day. Stay tuned for more of my crazy theories, as Puck Bunny Month draws to a close.
Roll the credits…
(I like this video because Avril_Bambi and Avril_Carmen are in it.)