Being an American, I don't know anything about anybody. With that in mind, I thought it might behoove me to learn a little bit about these people our Kings (er, I mean, Team USA and/or Team Canada and/or Team Slovakia) are playing against. Last night was Canada/Norway. So I'm starting with the Norwegians.
Here's what I turned up. A pathetic few items from personal experience, one because I know how to work a calculator, and the rest is from Wikipedia. [everything in italics is a cut/paste from Wikipedia's Norway page]:
- I was there in July once. The sun never set.
- Ibsen was Norwegian, as was Edvard Munch. And RudyKelly's grandfather.
- I told my kid that the reason the flags of Norway and Sweden look similar is because they're neighbors. My wife said I was full of ****. In fact, their flags are based on the Scandinavian Cross. Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland and Iceland (as well as the flags of some parts of Scotland that were conquered by vikings a thousand years ago) all employ the Scandinavian cross in a variety of colors.
- That o with a line through it. ø. It's not an o. Norwegians think it's a completely different letter. It sounds like a short i, sort of. And in English (among English speakers who are really into fonts), its nickname is "Oscar."
- The population of Norway is roughly the same as the population of Los Angeles.
- Ratio of Norwegian population to Norwegian NHL players: 4,700,000:1.
Okay, that's it for the non-Wikipedia part.
- Norway ranks as the wealthiest country in the world in monetary value, with the largest capital reserve per capita of any nation.
- -sen at the end of a name means "son of," and "-datter means "daughter of", though in the last couple of centuries girls get to have the -sen suffix, too. (via bestnorwegian.com)
- Most common names for Norwegian boys over the last century: Jan, Arne, Per, Ole, Bjorn, Hans, Knut, Lars, Kjell and Thor. (via bestnorwegian.com)
- The Norwegian welfare state makes public health care free, and parents have 12 months paid parental leave.
The number of Americans of Norwegian descent living in the U.S. today is roughly equal to the current population of Norway.
Since the 1990s, Norway's biggest cultural export is Black Metal. The lo-fi, dark and raw form of heavy metal exploded in Norway during the 90s and launched the worldwide acclaimed careers of bands such as Mayhem, Burzum, Emperor, Darkthrone and Immortal.
Norwegians celebrate Christmas on the 24th.
Due to a partial survival of an early medieval taboo against touching dead horses, eating horse meat was nearly unheard of until recent decades, though it does find some use in sausages.
Norwegians probably drink more coffee than you. 902 cups of coffee per Norwegian per year.
Whale was commonly used as a cheap substitute for beef early in the 20th century. Eating whale meat, although not common, is not controversial in Norway.
Patrick Thoresen is the fifth Norwegian player to play in the NHL. "Bjørn Skaare was Norway's first entry into the NHL, but he played only one match and got no contract with the Detroit Red Wings. Since then, Anders Myrvold, Espen Knutsen and Ole-Kristian Tollefsen have made the grade in the NHL." (via norway.org).
Next up, Sweden.