Sunday, January 10, 2010

5 Reasons I Love Hockey

My favorite sports blog in the universe is Puck Daddy. It is a hockey blog written by Greg Wyshynski on Yahoo! Sports. Every week he asks someone to give 5 reasons they love hockey. Out of respect for Greg and his work, here are the five reasons I love hockey.

1. Nassau Coliseum

Say what you want about the old barn. The one concourse (yes Nassau Veteran's Memorial Coliseum has only one concourse), the fact that it is in need of repair ASAP, or the fact that it could be the ugliest looking arena in sports history from the outside, but I dare you to find a place with better sight lines in every seat. The upper bowl at the coliseum is not really an upper bowl, but more like an extended lower bowl. From every seat, you can see everything. Also, when the coliseum sells out for a big game, or for the play-offs there is not a better barn in hockey. It is built like one of the old school arenas from the eighties, it is small and noise does not escape into a maze of concourses, or shopping centers, or anything. The place legitimately shakes when it gets loud.

2. Hockey Holidays

a.k.a the draft, the frenzy, and the deadline

Since I was in 8th grade, I've played hooky every trade deadline day . Because for some reason, Steve Montador for Petteri Nokelainen sounds so exciting coming out of Darren Dreger's mouth. Or maybe because its when you know if your team is going to exhaust all options to make it to the post-season. Or maybe its because you love Ryan Smyth and when the Islanders traded for him on February 27, 2007. You ran downstairs from your room screaming "Captain Canada is coming! Captain Canada is coming!" much like a certain Revolutionary did back in the late 1700's.

The NHL draft is the perfect thing to get back in the hockey spirit after the cup champion is anointed. The draft has a little bit of everything, jockeying, trades, and teenage boys being courted by middle-aged men. The draft is where the teams that finished at the bottom have something to cheer about for the first time in months. It is where each GM has his own plan, and it usually is don't let Brian Burke manipulate you.

Then there is July 1. That is also the date of my parent's anniversary, so when they go out to celebrate their anniversary, I stay in, glued to my computer, waiting to see who's going where. On July 1, 2007, the man who brought me to tears a few months earlier, brought me to tears again, this time they were tears of sadness. On that day, I saw Tom Poti, Viktor Kozlov, Jason Blake, and Ryan Smyth all leave the Island. Who were they replaced by? Jon Sim, Bill Guerin, Ruslan Fedotenko, and Mike Comrie. Presently, only Sim is still an Islander. Thats the kind of day July 1st is. It is filled with excitement and movement, but you really won't know if its a good day or a bad day for a long time.

3. Goalie Masks

No other position player in sports has more artistic freedom in sports than NHL goaltenders. In today's age, NFL players are fined for wearing their socks too low. In our beautiful league, we have 60 goalies with 60 very different masks. I love seeing what new designs goalies have when they switch teams. There is something about Patrick Lalime’s Marvin the Martian, Johan Hedberg’s Moose, and of course Ed Belfour’s Eagle that tickle my fancy in a big way.

4. The Brotherhood

No other sport in the world is as quirky as hockey. With that being the case, talking hockey is one of my favorite activities in the world. No matter who it is, if two people who are die-hard fans spot each other a conversation will immediately follow. Hockey fans are not as easy to come by as baseball or football fans, and while those two sports certainly dominate the airwaves there is nothing like a solid, intelligent hockey conversation. Since ESPN has yet to tarnish hockey with asinine statistics, it is usually pure, passionate, and intelligent.

5. Stick Tapping

No other sound can give me goose bumps like the sound of a bunch of sticks tapping against the boards. Playing goalie in a men’s league with a bunch of my friends during my senior year of high school may be the time of my life. We finished we a 2-8 record but we upset the defending champs in front of a raucous crowd one night in January. After I made a flurry of saves, the only sound I could hear was the sound of about 13 sticks hitting against the boards. Little moments like that, make hockey.

1 comment:

  1. All great reasons, although I'm not exactly what you would call an Islanders fan. I've never been INSIDE the Coliseum, but I still wouldn't anyone trash tlaking it, I feel like its a nice landmark for L.I. By the way, just wanted to mention I love Semyon Varlamov's mask.