Meet Chinese Anti-Hockey Grandpa: The Tim Horton's tv ad
+ comment from Russell Jung who played the young father
It's May, and a Canadian hockey team is still playing. Edmonton Oilers need one more win
to elminate the Anaheim Mighty Ducks to advance to the Stanley Cup finals, awaiting the
winner of the Buffalo Sabres - Carolina Hurricanes Eastern final.
Canadians, hockey and Tim Hortons - all very Canadian and perfect for a television
commercial.... but wait the hockey father and the hockey grandfather are Chinese?!?!
Do Chinese people play hockey? Where are the Chinese players in the NHL?
Back in 1972 and 1973, when my brother and I were in grades 6 and 7, we lived in
East Vancouver, and would carry our ice skates and hockey sticks to school to play on
Trout Lake after school.
Speaking of which... where are all the Chinese actors?
Russell Jung, who played the young father, in the Tim Horton's commercial contacted me
(see below) + a Maclean's Magazine artile about anti-hockey grandfather.
I played the young father Jimmy in the commercial and I live in Richmond.
When I did the Tim Hortons Commercial I never thought it would be this big.
I`ve been an actor, stuntman and model since 86 and i always thought that with
the asian population in Van. I would see alot of work.
It took a bit of time but this commercial so far is my hilight, all asian cast, hockey
and Tim Horton`s how canadian and we didn`t wear any glasses either. So I`m
glad that people enjoyed it and put asians and hockey in the
same sentence. TTYL Russ
Forget Hockey Dad. Meet Anti-Hockey Grandpa.
He's the star of the Tim Hortons Olympic ad. But what kind of monster is he?
Just be glad he wasn't your father. Or maybe he was.
Among the ads in high rotation during the Turin Winter Olympics were
Bell's beavers with cellphones, humans with Yoplait-induced logorrhea
— and three generations of Chinese-Canadian men in Tim Hortons'
rinkside soap opera.
At first viewing, it's a heartwarming tale of fathers, sons, immigrants
and hockey. Does it get any more Canadian? Watching it, you probably
choked up a bit. But after seeing it for the fifth or 43rd time, you
may have started to wonder: what kind of a dad hates hockey so much,
and loves his little boy so little, that he refuses to go to his son's
games — though he did once or twice sneak a peek through the Zamboni
tunnel, keeping his visits a secret, as if the rink were a crack house?
Canada, you know Hockey Dad. Meet his nemesis: Anti-Hockey Grandpa. No,
he will not drive you to the rink. No, he will not buy you a chocolate
For those who haven't seen the ad, a plot summary: somewhere in Canada,
Grandfather, stern first-generation patriarch of a Chinese-Canadian
family, has come to the rink to watch his grandson, Tommy. The father
is surprised to see grandfather, who has never been to see Tommy play
before. As they sit, the proud father, making small talk, says that
Tommy is a good player. “Better than you,” shoots back grandpa. The
father shakes his head, asking: “How would you know?” You are, after
all, Anti-Hockey Grandpa. You never came to see me. You hated hockey;
thought it a distraction from school and homework. Flashback to the
early 1970s, and the son being dragged out of a road hockey game by the
patriarch. “You must study harder,” admonishes the old man, leading him
into the house while blond neighbourhood boys play on. “Not just hockey
all the time.” He spits out the word, “hockey.”
So how can grandfather know that Tommy is a better player than the
father? “I come watch,” says grandfather. The son can't believe it.
“Okay, what team did I play for?” asks the son. “You right wing,” says
the old man, pulling out his wallet and finding a fading photo of a
preteen in a yellow sweater. And so the secret is revealed: 30 years
ago, he watched at least one game. “Thanks dad,” says the son, as our
tear ducts swell. To which Grandpa replies, never making eye contact
with his son, “gimme my picture back.”
Thanks? What kind of dad waits until his son is pushing 40 to tell him
that — surprise! — back when you were six, I did see one of your
games, and maybe I didn't think of you as quite the disappointment I
always told you you were? And what kind of a son, on learning that,
responds with “Thanks?” Folks have spent years on an analyst's couch
He's cold, but Anti-Hockey Grandpa could be a genuine Canadian
archetype, one a hockey-mad culture doesn't normally acknowledge. Paul
Wales, president of Enterprise Creative Selling, creator of the spot,
insists that the story's intergenerational differences speak to us,
especially children of immigrants. The Grandpa character, according to
Wales, represents a first-generation, small-business owner whose view
is, “you work hard and you work first, and that's what your life should
As for the revelation, 30 years too late, that Grandpa went to his
son's hockey game, “if we'd done it in a more gentle way, it wouldn't
have been genuine,” says Wales. “He wouldn't have told him that he went
and he saw him. Because it's the way that relationship is with that
culture from that generation.”
Wales says there's been a huge response to the ad, with some people
telling him that it makes them feel “like someone was looking right
into my family.”
Victor Wong, executive director of the Chinese Canadian National
Council, may be one of them. He thinks most immigrant parents are more
balanced in their view of life than Tim Hortons' Grandpa — but he also
recalls a time when his teachers told his parents that they were
worried that too many of his essays were about his favourite sport:
hockey. His parents took it in stride; Wong was doing well in school.
“But if you interview more 'Canadian-borns,' ” he says, referring to
Chinese born in Canada, “they'll relay their own hockey story to you.
They all have one.”
Which still leaves us with questions: if Grandfather was so opposed to
hockey, how did his son end up playing? Who bought him equipment? Was
Anti-Hockey Grandpa married to Hockey Grandma? We may never know. Wales
says there are no plans for a sequel.