Worse Than Hockey, Better Than Poker: How The Lockout Saved My Sex Life

By Bill Flaherty

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How one man, deprived of the sport, discovered that his sex life is intrinsically tied to hockey.


I had sex with my wife today. Yesterday, too. We seem to be having a lot more sex these days, which is fine; I like sex. But I think I like hockey more.

Let me preface this by saying that I love my wife. We’ve been married for eight years and I’ve known her for 12, but I’ve been a hockey fan for 34 and can tell you the goals scored, minutes played, pucks passed and shutouts recorded by every player on the ’93 Toronto Maple Leafs team that was unceremoniously robbed of a Stanley Cup. But I usually forget our anniversary. 

We have two kids, Doug and Clark, and a dog named Felix, all three named after Maple Leaf greats and under protest from my wife (who doesn’t so much dislike the names as she does the methodology used to designate them). Doug and Clark were born about a year apart in June 2005 and May 2006, dates that didn’t seem significant until I started having a lot more sex with my wife and the natural possibility of a third child came about. 

You see, their birth dates place their conception around a time when I was also having a lot more sex because I was watching a lot less hockey. I was watching a lot less hockey because there was no hockey to be watched. It was lockout 2004-05, and I guess I was bored and horny.

The hockey schedule doesn’t really allow for a whole lot of free time to actually have sex. Quickies, sure, between periods or whatever, but then the challenge becomes convincing your significant other that sex in a 20-minute window is a turn-on.

It’s not (or so says she).

By the time the early game ends on a Saturday night, it’s 9:30, 10 o’clock. The late game is another three hours; then it’s one A.M. and the combination of Budweiser, hot wings and the past six hours spent yelling at the little people in an inanimate object has somehow left something to be desired sexually. She’s asleep or at least pretending to be, and I’m either angry, kinda drunk or dealing with severe intestinal turmoil; more probably, some combination of the three.  

So sex, needless to say, is out of the question. 

But in ’04-’05, we fucked like rabbits. While the rest of the hockey world got wrapped up in the poker craze (indeed, leading up to the lockout, ESPN started airing poker at all hours of the day, from seven hours a week to 24 to fill the void), my wife and I resorted to all kinds of things two consenting adults can get into. The Acrobat, the Amazon; the Pivot, the Plumber. The reverse-cowgirl rodeo, the sexual seesaw and my personal favorite: Sitting Bull. Our kids were conceived with all the sexual dexterity and vigor one might find in a downtrodden hockey fan, deprived and frustrated, without his fix. Without hockey to pry my attention away and release all the tension, we pretty much saw fit to do whatever we wanted, whenever we wanted (including some crazy number called the Pretzel that I doubt I could emulate today. 

It turns out a lot of other people did, too. 

After the revelation that my children were almost definitely the by-product of the ’04-’05 lockout (someday they’ll read this and the result will be at least a few expensive years of psychotherapy), I did some digging to see if my wife and I were the only ones resorting to sex to get through those long hockeyless nights. 

American hockey markets revealed little on this front; with their attentions pulled in a plethora of other directions it was difficult to establish a correlation between a lack of hockey and an increase of intercourse. I had to narrow my search to a more hockey-centric market. 

Enter Canada, an all-consumed nation of hockey fans. Surely if there was a connection to be made I would find it here, the birthplace of the sport. What else would they be doing? My hypothesis, backed by the very existence of my own children, was simple: without any puck, Canadians would fuck. 

Sure enough, I found a report that confirmed my belief: in 2005-2006, births increased in every Canadian province save two (two that, conveniently enough, don’t have a professional hockey team). In fact, the fertility rate in Canada hit a 10-year high in 2006, with 12,000 more hockey fans born unto hockey fans in ’06 than ’05 when the NHL was in session. 

The study concluded that the “recent increase in births could be explained partly by the fact that many women from the echo generation had entered their childbearing years,” but obviously I had a different, perhaps more simplistic theory to explain the aberration: thousands of bored Canadians were branching out sexually, having more sex, and in turn, more children because they didn’t have hockey to distract them. 

Further research only confirmed my suspicion: in the years just after hockey franchises left the great Canadian cities of Quebec and Winnipeg (in ’95 and ’96 respectively), fertility rates spiked before dropping back to the mean (probably as a result of the deep-seated depression that hockey was in fact never returning to the town). The top 10 Canadian cities where birth rates are the highest? All major city centers within a stone’s throw of a professional hockey team but without one of their own. They’re hockey starved, so close to the game they can taste it but just far enough away that they have to settle for sex. 

If you still aren’t sold, if you think maybe this is all a happy coincidence, consider this: in the 2010 draft, seven of the top 10 prospects were Canadian. Of those seven, five were born within a month of each other, between December 1992 and January 1993. If we include the whole first round we can add two more names to that list. That puts their conception on or around the first of April, 1992, which marks the very first cancellation of NHL games over labor strife with the players’ strike. What are the odds that five of the best young players in a single class were conceived completely independent of each other, with not one hockey-related factor coming into play? 

Low, I’d say. In fact, the only other explanation I could offer would be that Canadians routinely partake in star-studded, talent-driven orgies to produce phenomenal hockey players (an argument I wouldn’t completely rule out considering how seriously they take the sport), but otherwise I would put forth that the calendar dates certainly align well and support the argument that without puck, good Canucks will fuck. 

Which is good news, I guess, for me and my family; I no longer have to worry about my wife’s waning libido in light of another hockey season, and knowing that children born out of (wed)lockout are seemingly more likely to play professionally, the overwhelming pressure I will inevitably inflict upon my kids in order to fulfill my wildest vicarious dreams will pretty much be justifiable.  

Basically, the lockout isn’t all that bad; it saved my sex life, and if I have another kid, he’ll probably be an NHL All-Star. 

I had sex with my wife today, and so long as the lockout is still on, I’ll probably have sex with her tomorrow too. 

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