International Ice Hockey Federation

Asterix: The Hockey Way

Asterix: The Hockey Way

Banqueting on fun “hockey food” facts!

Published 25.04.2017 15:10 GMT+2 | Author Lucas Aykroyd
Asterix: The Hockey Way
When the U.S. faces Italy, it's two fine hockey AND food nations facing off, which irresistibly recalls the plot of Asterix and the Banquet. Photos: Editions Albert René, Jukka Rautio / HHOF-IIHF Images
To be successful in hockey or in the world of Asterix, you’ve got to eat the right food. So start licking your chops, hockey fans!

Leading up to the 2017 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship, we’re dedicating one article to each day of the tournament, making a tongue-in-cheek comparison between an Asterix comic book and famous aspects of international hockey history.

What comes to mind when you think of the U.S. facing Italy in Cologne on 10 May? These two World Championship nations are also renowned for their cuisine, as American food is exported around the globe, and almost everyone loves Italian pizza, pasta, and wine. In culinary terms, these countries are gold medalists every year!

Food is also front and centre in Asterix and the Banquet. Asterix and Obelix travel around France collecting delicacies from major cities to win a bet with a Roman prefect, like ham from Paris, sausage from Toulouse, and fish stew from Marseilles. Are you drooling yet?

In this spirit, let’s digest a few quirky international “hockey food” factoids!

Lou Vairo, the 2010 recipient of the IIHF’s Paul Loicq Award, scouted for the 1980 “Miracle on Ice” team and head coach of the U.S. men’s national team on five occasions, among other feats. Also, an accomplished chef, he’s known for serving excellent meals. In 2014, Vairo told about a recent dinner he made: “I’ll have eggplant done three different ways, clams, mussels with white wine, an octopus salad, mini-swordfish steaks, carp that was harpooned in the North Atlantic and five different types of salad.”

In his 1990 autobiography, Wayne Gretzky said: “I play best on four hot dogs, oozing in mustard and onions. (Maybe because no defenseman wants to get near me after that.)” Obelix plays best on as many roast wild boars as he can eat!

Before the 1987 Canada Cup, Gretzky invited Russian stars Igor Larionov, Vladimir Krutov, Vyacheslav Fetisov, and Sergei Makarov to a backyard barbecue at his father’s house in Brantford, Ontario. Soviet coach Viktor Tikhonov, who also came along, forbade his players to drink beer. However, they got around this injunction when “The Great One” invited the players to check out his trophies in the basement, and Gretzky’s brother Keith discreetly passed around beers. (Obelix fell into the cauldron of magic potion when he was a little boy, but that was different.)

When Sweden won IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship gold in 1957, captain Lars “Lasse” Bjorn was asked to lead his players in singing the national anthem, “Du Gamla, Du Fria.” However, the strapping defenceman’s mind went blank in front of the Moscow crowd. All he could remember was “Heland Ger” (“Let’s Drink It All”), a famous tavern, so that’s what he sang!

When Roberto Luongo starred for the Vancouver Canucks, he didn’t limit himself to the standard chicken and pasta as a pre-game meal. The two-time Olympic gold medalist enjoyed lobster linguini from Cioppino’s, a well-known Italian restaurant near Rogers Arena. Maybe the Roman legionaries Asterix and Obelix beat up would be stronger if they had lobster linguini too!

In 2010, IIHF President René Fasel celebrated his 60th birthday during the Winter Olympics in Vancouver. In addition to loving the sport of hockey, he enjoys soup. To mark the occasion, IIHF staff members presented him with a new cookbook entitled Hockey Soups, featuring 60 soup recipes from 60 IIHF member nations.

Asterix and Obelix always enjoy a banquet at the end of their adventures, and we have a banquet of hockey excitement coming up in Paris and Cologne!

This is a 17-part series prior to the 2017 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship, of which Asterix and Obelix are the official mascots. Click on News to find the stories.


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