I moved to New York City from Southeastern Michigan about four-and-a-half years ago, and with one extremely notable year-long gap my treks back there for weddings, holidays, vacations and the like have been fairly common—say, three or four times a year. I’ve picked up a little tradition of sorts in that time in which, for the very first dinner I have at my parents’ house after arriving, we get food from Buddy’s Pizza, which is one of the area’s primary purveyors of Detroit-style pies.
What’s Detroit-style pizza, you ask? Great question! It’s a square pizza with sauce on top and the toppings … well, bottoming … and a crispy, buttery crust that delights you without overwhelming you like Chicago style might. It’s become trendy enough in recent years that a few spots in NYC even sell it now, but this food will always remain steeped in the history of the Detroit auto industry, as the blue steel pans used to make it beginning in the 1940s came from the nearby factories. And though it’s delicious on the East Coast, too, I’ve grown to fiercely love it because, particularly after 2020, eating it at my parents’ table is synonymous to me with home.
Anyway, also in that time, I’ve developed a fondness for hockey’s Hughes brothers: Quinn, Jack, and Luke. Quinn, the oldest, went to the University of Michigan and now plays for the Vancouver Canucks. Jack, the true prodigy of the three, was picked first overall in 2019 and makes his home in New Jersey. Luke, meanwhile, will also go to the Devils whenever he decides to leave Ann Arbor, where he currently plays.
Despite a shoulder injury that’s kept him out for half his team’s games, Jack has otherwise enjoyed a strong start to his third NHL season, averaging exactly a point per game as he looks to set career highs across the board as long as he stays healthy. On top of those solid stats, he’s had some truly marvelous and memorable moments, including this celebratory stick toss over the boards after a game-winner in overtime, this critical winner on New Year’s Eve against Edmonton, that time he adorably lit up after being told in a post-game press conference that Luke had scored a goal, and that time he failed miserably trying to sing Mariah Carey “for the boys.”
So today’s Emily Kaplan profile on Hughes, published on ESPN, seems like it would be ideal reading for me. But no, it was in fact a trap! Hughes, whose family currently makes their home in the Mitten State, ambushed me with some of the most disgusting disrespect for a food item I have ever seen in my life. From the article (emphasis mine):
“You can’t even compare the bagels, and I won’t even touch the pizza back home [in Michigan] now,” says Hughes, making sure he adds that there are also “elite delis” in New Jersey.
I did not know the true meaning of the phrase “hopping mad” until I read this sentence. I am bouncing off the walls as I type this, mere hours after I had to convince all of my co-workers that Mackinac Island is a well-known vacation destination. I agree with Hughes, at least, that there is no contest between Tri-State bagels and Midwestern bagels. But to say that the pizza offends you so greatly that you will not even touch it crosses a line that I was too naive to know could even be crossed. I am sickened to discover that a man can grow to be 20 years old, and earn millions of dollars, while holding tight to such a disgusting prejudice.
Perhaps it’s not his fault. Perhaps the Hughes parents never gave Jack the real deal and only ever bought their kids Little Caesars, which while sufficient at times cannot legally be described as “pizza.” Perhaps Kaplan herself is to blame, misquoting Hughes as part of some long-running conspiracy that ESPN holds against the fine people of the Motor City.
But I don’t think we can afford to take any chances in such a crisis. To be honest, I only see one way that Hughes can start his trek down the road to forgiveness after this vile act. I hereby call upon the New Jersey Devils to, right this instant, trade Jack Hughes to the Detroit Red Wings. It’s the only way for him to learn the error of his ways.