I grew up in a hockey household, kind of weird for the middle of the east coast. Hockey isn’t a hugely talked about sport in the “south”. All the kids talked about in middle school, high school, and even as I am in my sophomore year of college, was football (don’t get me wrong, I love football) or baseball, but never really hockey. Whenever I would make a statement that I believe hockey is one of the best sports and most physically demanding one as well, I would get looks harsher then anything you have ever seen before. Hockey is on the rise. The fan base is in the top ten most loyal fans. After this years playoffs, ticket sales has gone through the roof.
Before I get into why I think hockey is the greatest sport, take this into consideration:
Hockey is such a fast paced, intense sport. It combines a plethora of sports. Soccer players with leg strenght, football players with the toughness of getting hit, lacrosse, baseball with hand eye coordination, tennis with agility, golf with the strategy of hitting the ball (or puck in this case), boxing with fighting strategies (L o l), marathon runner because have you really thought about how hard it is to speed skate AND focus on more then that for three periods? No probably not. Those are just the start of how physically demanding it is.
Okay, so here is why I think hockey is the greatest sport:
- The fact that I like hockey is so rare and amazing to people. I find that telling people I am a huge hockey fan is a big start to many conversations. Liking hockey kind of makes me stand out.
- You get super close to the action. So I mean, who doesn’t like blood and to see a fight? Not anyone sane. I had the pleasure of sitting in the corner right on the glass, and it was… incredible to say the least. You get to see all the board slams, or all the fights. But also even higher up it is awesome as well.
- Sounds like a stupid reason, but hockey is inside. Hockey is played from September/October- June. That’s most seasons. You won’t have to worry about sweating your butt off like you would at a baseball game, or freezing and having to defrost your hands for hours after a football game in November.
- There is the option of outdoor hockey too. COOL RIGHT? I think so. Winter Classic is outdoors, so awesome.
- The history of hockey is like none other. NHL was started in 1917. It began with four teams, and now has 30. Players have gone from using frozen cow poop to pucks. Wearing wool sweaters to jerseys even though they are still called sweaters.
- The pace is incredible. I love football as much as the next guy or girl, but the NFL stops for EVERYTHING.. and sometimes it is a little bit overrated and it gets boring if they are taking forever. Like I just want to see someone get hit. Hockey is one of the fastest paced games. There are three periods lasting 20 minutes each. They fly by like you would not believe. Players take shots that can go as high as 108 miles an hour. WHAT. Hockey doesn’t give my ADHD time to find something else to focus my attention on.
- I already touched on this earlier but the high level of skill needed to play hockey is incredible. I have mad respect for hockey players. They have to skate at high speeds while trying to move a puck around a sheet of ice for at least 60 minutes. I could not do it.
- The physical aspect. It gets the fans and players even more involved in the already fast paced game. Who doesn’t love to see someone get thrown into the boards, or thrown to the grown or a high stick to the face? A good fight is a good hockey game.
- GOALIE FIGHTS ARE MY FAVORITE PART. Yes this is all caps, yes this is what fans will tell you they love. Nothing more thrilling then seeing a goalkeeper drop their gloves.
- Going hand in how rare goalie fights are, penalty shots success are rare as well. They are rewarded to a team when the other team takes them down on a breakaway. The success is really low, and that’s what makes them so exciting.
- One time out per game. Nice.
- Overtime in the regular season. If it is a tie score after the third period, there is a one minute break and then they go into a four on four overtime for five minutes. After that a shootout is given. Three players are selected, best out of the three shots win.
- Power plays. Powerplays consist of a team that has an advantage and is playing with the right amount of players,where as the penalized team is playing man down. They are exciting and can restore the momentum to say the least.
- The fact that there are seven games in the playoffs. Unlike the NFL that has one game to win, the NHL has seven games for the chance to move on. If you have a bad game, it is no big deal. In last years playoffs the Flyers were in a 0-3 hole, and came back and sent the Bruins home.
- The Stanley Cup. It is awesome becase each staff member, and players get a day of their own with the cup. Kind of like flat stanley am I right? Stanley cup gets to see the world. Players have eaten pasta out of it, or had a beer to drink out of it. It has been to Niagra Falls. It has been to Europe too.
- Touched on the long schedules before. They play from September to June. So much hockey!!! They play 82 regular season games, and all the games are spaced out.
- Canada games. The NHL has six Canadian teams. Hearing the national anthem and the Canadian anthem is wicked cool.
- Hockey is a global sport. I was reading an article the other day that the San Jose Sharks just drafted a 19 year old from Switzerland. That is so rad. It is going global. The NHL is having games in Europe being a part of the NHL Premiere.
- The fans are crazy. There is never a limit on all the fans you will meet and see. Always a good laugh.
- When a goal is scored. All the fans go absolutely crazy. The buzzer and siren and lights go off and everyone just loses their mind. It’s great.
Hockey is just better. Plain and simple. Some of the most passionate fans I’ve ever met. The pace of the game is honestly mind blowing. Why don’t you try to learn the game and maybe you will find a new long lost love?