In case you haven’t seen it already, Puck Daddy has been doing a “5 Things I Love About Hockey” series with all kinds of people. Since I’m kind of new to hockey, I thought I’d say why I love hockey. There’s no particular order to it except for the first one, but here we go. Oh, and this is all generally speaking. There are some players that are exceptions.
- The Tradition. That’s my absolute favorite thing about hockey. There’s so much history to it. When you’re defending the Stanley Cup title, you’re really defending it. You have to give it back. You’re not going to get to keep it in a showcase and wait to put another one next to it. There’s really something to defend. It’s not like the Super Bowl or the World Series or college sports; there’s not a new shiny trophy made every year. It’s just the same one that’s been handed to all the previous winners. Yeah, everyone gets a ring, but the actual championship trophy is the same one that a lot of the greatest in the world have held. I’m not sure anyone else can say that.
- The Toughness. Hockey players, to me, are by far the toughest of athletes in the four major sports and than some. There are football players who play 16 regular season games and sit out with turf toe. Hockey players play 82 regular season games that aren’t as stop-and-start as football, and come playoffs, they’re playing with broken feet and hands and torn muscles. They block a 90 mile an hour slapshot, skate to the bench, and miss maybe one shift. They don’t lay on the ice and roll around, writhing in pain. It’s just a suck-it-up kind of sport.
- The Grinders. I don’t think there’s another sport where guys who aren’t as skilled can be counted on for so much. A coach puts the grinders in for that last minute in the third period when you’re only up by one goal or to create energy and start up the offense. This time I’ll relate it to basketball. If it’s tied 99-99 with seconds left, you’re going to have LeBron or Kobe out there to take that last shot. The big names. The highly skilled guys. Grinders are the heart and soul guys of the team. They bust their asses every time they hit the ice, and while they may not always get rewarded with a goal or get the most media coverage, they’ll get the praise and recognition they deserve if they do what’s expected of them.—>See Steckel, Bradley, and Laich.
- The Pest. There’s actually a type of player called a pest in hockey. I think that’s pretty funny and pretty awesome. They just piss people off. It’s their job to get people off their game by chirping at them. Of course all sports have shit talkers and obnoxious players, but it’s different in hockey. It’s taken to a whole new level. Just look at anything Sean Avery does. He goes out of his way to annoy players. Pests just seem to add a little something while watching for me.
- The Chippyness. I just love how you can get away with a little more than elsewhere. The face wash after the whistle, the shoving matches, and the removal of mouthguard from young kid. Ejections would probably be handed out in baseball, 15 yard penalty in football, a yellow card in soccer, a foul in basketball (I think). Not so much in hockey. There’s always atleast a couple times after the whistle when there’s pushing and shoving, and depending on how far it goes, no one gets penalized. It kind of gives you a little more reason to hate the other players or a certain player in particular.
I have more things that I love about hockey, but those are the ones that came to the top of my head this early in the morning. Maybe I’ll add more later and make it a longer list. Possibly.