I managed to catch a few of the games in the just-completed World Junior Hockey Championship. If I’d been more organized I might have been able to go to some of them since they were right here in town, but hockey turns out to be excellent HDTV fare and it was terrific entertainment. While we won the final 5-0, that wasn’t fair to the Russians, who were a strong, fast, skilled team; they had at least as much talent as the Canadians. I think they were out-coached; plus our goalie Justin Pogge, whom nobody’d ever heard of before, went into brick-wall mode in the first third or so of the game, against a mere human there would have been two or three or more Russian goals. Anyhow, once you got past Canada and Russia, the other really good team in the tournament was the USA. And here’s what’s weird and disturbing: the mostly-Canadian audiences were actively cheering for anyone playing against the US, and occasionally booing the Americans. Granted, economically-literate Canadians are mad at the US for egregious NAFTA abuse, and we’re terrified of the consequences of our neighbor’s lunatic fiscal and trade deficits. And of course, from the mushy Canadian cultural centre, Dubya and the neotheocons seem like beings from an alien planet. While, like most Canadians, I disapprove of many actions of the current US administration, like most Canadians I also like most Americans. And it’s just moronic to take out political gripes on a bunch of eager, dedicated, young athletes. But having said that, if there were any doubt that the USA has a major public-relations problem, booing hockey fans a half-hour over the border should dispel it.