Why Not Hockey?

by Rich M on October 26, 2013 · 3 comments

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I will be the first to admit that when I was growing up hockey seemed as intriguing to me as Olympic curling. I would occasionally watch a couple of minutes of a game on ESPN and move on with my night. I perceived it as a bunch of dumb Canadians that said “eh” and slept in igloos. The truth of the matter is that I didn’t understand the game nor did I appreciate the little things that make it great. By the time the Blue Jackets came to Columbus in 2000, I was much more educated on the game, but still a little apprehensive if it would work in a city that bases their year on Ohio State’s record in football.

hockey fight 2

What makes hockey great? I could name 100 different things but I’ll focus on a few aspects of the game that, I think, make it great. What other sport can you fight and not get fined, then only be penalized for 5 minutes? If you breathe wrong on a QB in football it starts a national debate on the dangers of the game and why we need to eliminate hitting and resort to using flags. There is an actual purpose for fighting in the NHL and unwritten rules that most players abide by. You have to protect the superstars of the game, and that means you have to drop the gloves from time to time. Hockey has taken a hit in recent years with Sidney Crosby being injured for extensive periods of time. He is the face of the game and the player that most of the mainstream media sees and reports on. There are times when a fight can turn the momentum of a game and inspire a team to play faster and better. Is it barbaric? Absolutely and I love every second of it.

It’s a FAST game. The speed of the game isn’t evident when it’s watched on television. The first time I watched a game in the lower level was for an Ohio State hockey game at the Schott. This was circa 1998 and just a couple of years before the CBJ came to town, so it was the only way to watch live hockey at a high level. I was amazed at the athleticism and how quick they moved on skates. If you get the opportunity to watch an NHL game up close, I guarantee the speed of the players and their physical style will be mesmerizing.

eating out of the cupDid Tom Brady get a day with the Lombardi Trophy after he helped New England win their Super Bowls? Only in the NHL can each player from the Stanley Cup winning team have possession of the trophy for 1 day and do whatever they want with it. The trophy is a symbol of hard work and the players have earned their day with it. I would argue that it’s the most traveled piece of hardware in the world. It stands 35.25 inches and weighs 34.5 pounds, but I’m willing to bet it feels as light as a feather if you’ve earned the honor to hold it high above your head.

The last piece I love about hockey is the postgame handshake in the playoffs. To me it’s one of the most beautiful things in all of sports. At the end of each playoff series, each team lines up and shakes hands. It’s the ultimate show of sportsmanship and the player’s way to show their respect for the opponent. It’s a tradition that you won’t see in the NBA, NFL or MLB. The players understand the blood, sweat and tears that go into winning 1 playoff game, let alone a playoff series. Will it ever be mainstream? Not a chance and that’s fine by me. I love the game regardless and learn something new every night. All that I ask is go to a game and really follow what is going on. Take the time to understand the game and I promise it won’t seem as boring as it’s perceived.


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