Everyone at #TeamTRH is an expert in something.

For example, PumperNicholl‘s grasp of hockey stats and trivia is unparalleled. Jesse Cohen is the Howard Stern of hockey podcasting. Jersey Brian has won the title of “Least Liked Member of Team TRH” for two straight years. Flubber McGee practically is a member of the American Kennel Club. Shawn is my musical twinsie and an expert in #Sprots Management.

Indiana Matt has his photoshops, LA Queen of Meme is significantly better than him at photoshops, HSTHB is on the cutting edge of finding hilarious ways to use apps, TRH himself is great at posting pictures of his baby… and the list goes on.

But what about me?

Well, if there’s one thing I know, it’s human relationships. I’ve had more failed attempts at those than most people can dream of in a lifetime. And so, who better to write a hockey-themed dating column than someone who is single and childless at 30?

Just call me the Datsyuk of Dating; the Robitaille of Romance; the McDavid of McDonald’s first dates.

I’m here to wax poetic on the nature of hockey and relationships, and tackle your hockey-related dating questions, comments, and observations. Because if anyone knows how to “dump and chase,” it’s me. Welcome to Hock-E-Harmony.


Hock-E-Harmony: Relationships on Ice

Each installment of Hock-E-Harmony will include a free-form essay by yours truly on a given hockey/relationships topic.


There are certain things that, I’ve learned, can leave quite an indelible impression on you in this life.

Two of the biggest ones I’ve found are sports and relationships. Both of these complex, wonderful, and weird things leave memories branded in your mind, creating moments that seem frozen in time and in your imagination for the rest of your life.

I think one thing I’ve struggled with personally is being able to move on.

There’s nothing quite like sports and relationships when things are going well. The glory days seem bathed in a sort of golden light, offering comfort and happiness and utter satisfaction.

And yet, Nature loves change, and so change is as inevitable as a Sharks postseason choke job. But what are we to do when that change comes and some of the best times seem to be behind us?

I’ve noticed a lot of Kings fans struggling to accept that our circumstances have changed, permanently. Beloved figures have left the team forever (presumably), and other team fixtures have been revealed to be more flawed than we could have possibly imagined. Yes, our relationship with the 2011 to 2014 LA Kings is firmly in the past. And much of our fanbase is still hung up on those years, unwilling or unable to accept our shifting identity.

Things can seem bleak for a while. Last season, the team struggled to adapt to present circumstances and flailed out of control. This year, the Kings are off to an inconsistent start. It’s always hard in the years after a meaningful relationship. It can feel tough to find your place again. After a period of intense disappointment, things don’t feel quite the same. We question whether they ever will be again — or, if they can at least ever be as good.

Moving on is hard. There’s no doubt about that. There are days I wake up and want to live in the warm comfort of the past forever. There are days when I look at the roster and realize the utter finality of how time marches on, and how absurd it is that people enter and exit our lives in ways that both delight and destroy us.

Last year, I wrote that “it is bitter disappointment that will ultimately refresh your ability to be gladdened by the team’s future victories.” And I still believe that to be true. But that doesn’t make it easier to watch losses pile up. It doesn’t make it any easier to watch other people celebrating, awash in their own pocket of temporal bliss, emotions that viewed from afar seem at once so familiar and yet so far away.

The cost of success is knowing how good things can be, even during times when they’re not.

But the benefit of success is knowing that your final championship has yet to be won. We’re not done yet, and while we will cherish the past, we will hold firm to a belief in the inevitable beauty of tomorrow. And so we drag ourselves out of bed each morning of this new season, ready to do what we must — and bag-skate our way to a future that looks a whole lot like a gleaming, fresh sheet of ice from here.


Hock-E-Harmony Mailbag Time!

Got a hockey-themed relationship question for a future installment? Tweet me @KingTufficult!

Reader #1

That’s a great question, Carrlyn, and thanks for allowing me to shed some light on this mystery.

There are many reasons why someone intimately involved with the Kings organization might become intimately involved with a Ducks fan.

First and foremost would be some misguided sense of being a “hockey fan” above loyalty to any one team, causing you to overlook a partner’s unfortunate taste in hockey clubs. As we know, this is way too mature of a position to take for The Royal Half dot com. UGH! Don’t you know that fandom is everything? Any minor transgression from the party line is grounds for questioning whether you like the Kings at all, Carrlyn.

What’s that? You’ve produced dozens, if not hundreds of videos for the Kings? You’re at every home game, involved with creating in-field Kings segments all over the Southwestern United States, and have a multi-year history of contributing to the Kings’ fan experience? WELL TOO BAD!

All that being said, I advise you to make sure that the gentleman you are dating has not suffered any particular trauma that has caused him to be a Ducks fan. Does he need some time in the quiet room? Is he getting enough sleep? Does he have a special affinity for the number zero?

Regardless, just know that there is nothing wrong with dating a Ducks fan, Carrlyn.

After all, once the postseason starts, only one of you will still have a rooting interest, anyway.


Reader #2

No, but at the very least, she is forever able to wear a jersey with her own name — without committing that particular jersey foul. Hope she likes Dwight!

Dwight King gif


Reader #3

Ah yes, the old “you don’t have to become a fan, just be cool with my obsession.” I’ve sprung that dirty lie on a few of my exes, and was even able to get them to believe it… for a while. And then, the first argument about hanging that giant LA Kings tapestry above our shared bed.

Or insisting on dominating the TV for three hours every few nights so that I can watch sweaty Canadians in HD. Also, sometimes I wanted to watch Kings games on the TV.

Yes, relationships can work if only one partner is an LA Kings fan… but relationships thrive when the Kings fan sends their fandom like a zombie virus, deep into their partner’s brain… until both of you are walking encyclopedias of knowledge about everything from Jeff Carter’s dogs to Jim Fox’s preferred grape-crushing techniques (barefoot, while whistling ‘O, Canada!’).


Reader #4

There is nothing wrong with that. I’m a jealous, jealous man, and the happiest day of my last relationship was when Jeff Carter lost his teeth, and I’m not even ashamed to admit it. I’m not saying I hope sometime soon Martinez has to drink applesauce through a straw, but I’m not denying it, either.

Actually, I don’t even want to joke about messing with Martinez’ face. That would be like defacing the statue of David or pissing on the Mona Lisa. You don’t mess with perfection.


Reader #5

Please, why do you think like the Kings?


Reader #6

And Patrick was never heard from again…

As a child, King Tufficult liked to hang out at Iceoplex to watch his dad’s summer skating group that included many gloriously mulleted individuals. Some of the people attached to those mullets played for the early 90′s LA Kings. It was destiny. Since then, King Tufficult is best known for extensively traveling in Europe during the Cup Finals and writing “The Post” after Game 6 of the 2014 WCF. If you're a glutton for punishment, you can follow King Tufficult on Twitter @KingTufficult.