Canadians were not laughing when the country's national pastime - ice hockey - was cancelled last winter because of a labour dispute; nobody, that is, except superstar Brett Hull. He went on the Saturday Night Live television comedy show and drew a link between the hockey lockout and the national debate over same-sex marriage. 'That's what happens in Canada when there's no hockey,' Hull said. 'Guys have more time to hang out, talk about their feelings and fall in love with each other.' Well, the hockey dispute, like the gay-marriage controversy, is close to a settlement, and now the corporate bosses of the game have to draw millions of people back to the game after a year's hiatus. Good luck. They will have to do without me, or other members of the League of Angry Former Fans, or LAFF. Millionaire players battling billionaire owners for more money is not my idea of a laudable struggle. A pox on both their arenas. To be honest, I stopped watching hockey 20 years ago. As with most Canadians over a certain age, the joy started to wear thin when players began hiring agents and the game expanded to cities (Los Angeles, Tampa Bay) where it doesn't snow. Maybe it's a generational thing. So much has disappeared in a half-century. I started playing hockey as a boy in a mining town that no longer exists - Schefferville, Quebec. Inside my hockey socks, as padding, were catalogues from a department store that no longer exists - Eaton's. After the game we all sat around the pot-bellied stove in the hockey shack and howled with pain as the blood began to circulate again in our frozen feet. When is the last time anyone in Canada saw a hockey shack? Hockey was biological, elemental and simple. If you were lucky, your dad would pack you into the car once a year and take you to a Montreal Canadiens vs Toronto Maple Leafs game at the Montreal Forum. Back then, you could buy a ticket, a steamed hotdog and a Coke, and still have something left over from your allowance. With that ticket you could witness the transcendent magic of Gordie Howe's pinpoint passing, or 'Boom Boom' Geoffrion's frightening slap shot. I am not averse to change. I don't mind that under their new contract, professional hockey players will earn a minimum of US$450,000 a year, or that 20 teams will qualify for the playoffs. And I don't care about a host of novelties that the owners will introduce to get old fans back into the rinks. I'm moving on. I've turned a page. I now go swing dancing on Saturday nights. It's coming back.