Its coming, and I know it. Turning 30. Reaching that mid life portion where many people reevaluate how to go about things. Jobs, cars, family, leisure time.
I stopped this morning to think about why I love hockey so much. It’s pretty much in my genes. If there is a hockey game on, I’ll watch it. AHL, College, International, NHL - men’s or women’s hockey. We talked last night about womens hockey and a possible WNHL – I’d buy into that – just for the fact it would give me another outlet to satisfy my obsession with the game. But thats a conversation for another article.
So here are the top five reasons why I love the game of hockey:
1. Speed. This is actually a two part answer, but I wanted to combine them because taking up two spots in the top five seemed hokey. The pace of the game play is just astounding - the back and forth action between two teams – how intense is watching a game between two great teams going end to end and exchanging great chances – you don’t see that in any other major league. The other part of “speed” is how the game is played. The final two minutes of a game is played in, well, just about two minutes. NBA, NFL, and MLB games can last forever, even when you think time is about to expire. Timeouts, substitutions, strategy, mound visits – other sports just drag and drag. Now I am a sports fan, so I can see the appeal of the final moments of other sports as well, but there is nothing like a hockey game. If your holding a lead in hockey – its basically a game of keep away from the opposing team. In football – I’d hate to pay that much for a seat to watch a team eat up play clock to have the quarterback snap the ball and take a knee.
2. Global appeal. Hockey is just about everywhere. Hell, you want to really broaden your horizon – you couldn’t take field hockey and get into it as well. There are multiple leagues in the North American market, but there is also Europe as well – and with minor differences, its pretty much the same game.
3. Variation. Field hockey, roller hockey, ice hockey. Hell there’s even ring hockey, shinny and underwater pool hockey. You can play hockey with a puck or a ball. While pro teams play five on five for the most part, you can play pick up hockey with just as much satisfaction with as few as two or three guys.
4. History, tradition, superstition. Hockey has it all. While the NHL has gotten away from capitalizing on some of its history (using geographic names for division etc.) the history is there – and the game hasn’t changed that much in the 100 years the league has been around.
5. Depth. Baseball has this too, but if you follow a professional team (at least in North America) you actually follow multiple teams. You have the AHL affiliate, and then every minor league team or college team (or international junior) that your pro team might have a prospect playing for.
It just goes to show that hockey really is, the greatest show on Earth.
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