(AP Photo/Interstate Bakeries Corporation via PRNewsFoto)

And now for a riddle: How does the National Hockey League differ from a Twinkie?

Give up?

Okay. In cities all over the United States, people are upset that there aren’t any more Twinkies.

Twinkies are an American icon. They are fluffy and sweet and full of something that resists decay, though it promotes it in the teeth of those who eat the icons. In terms of nutritional value, Twinkies are as empty as the rinks of the teams that make up the National Hockey League.

Twinkies are not available because the corporation that used to sell them was unable to make a deal with the people who used to bake them.

That Twinkies were baked rather than molded may surprise some of their former fans, but I digress.

The hockey customarily provided by the National Hockey League is not available because the corporate leaders of the NHL have been unwilling to make a deal with the men who make the product they sell, which is hockey, seasoned with mayhem.

Nobody knows precisely what Twinkies have been seasoned with, which was part of the charm of the nasty little cakes. But I digress again.

There are various other ways in which the NHL and Twinkies can be linked. Lots of pro hockey players lack teeth. You don’t need teeth to eat a Twinkie.

But seriously, folks. If you could gather together all the people who miss Twinkies, the line would stretch from New York to San Francisco, then up to Seattle. The line of folks mourning the absence of the National Hockey League might make it from Edmonton to Calgary via Red Deer, if you spotted them the lakes.

I’m told Twinkies will be back. The idea is that some corporation will buy the brand from the wreckage of the Hostess Company. Will the resultant product be as iconic and ever-lasting as its predecessor? Who knows?

I’m told the NHL will be back, too. History suggests that the owners will eventually remember why it was they wanted to own NHL teams to begin with, which was to make money by staging hockey games. If the NHL is fortunate, some semi-respectable number of hockey fans will be as happy to see the lights go on in the arenas as lovers of Twinkies will be to see the shelves re-stocked with those spongy little sacks of mysterious goo.