Over the summer of 2009, Puck Daddy was asking bloggers to contribute a post detailing five reasons why they love hockey. I'd decided to do that on my own that summer, since I hadn't been asked, and I kind of wanted to. Well, our fearless leader John Fontana decided that the staff would resurrect this topic in a series of posts by the staff here at Raw Charge. And I get to go first.
So, here are my five reasons why I love hockey - with a slightly different spin from the last time.
I love how fast hockey is, and how seamless the players move on and off the ice. When players are moving like parts in a well-oiled machine, and the on-ice officials have put their whistles away, it's a thing of beauty. The game just flows from one end to the other, in a seemingly endless pendulum. There's nothing quite like that in other sports, and in a freewheeling game, there's nothing better then bouncing from a scoring chance in one end to a scoring chance at the other and and back again in a live and apparently endless loop.
Hipchecks are the best. I will never not love a well-placed hipcheck. Thank you, Radko Gudas, for helping to bring those back to the NHL.
Now if only the players who have been hipchecked would realize that it's a perfectly legal thing and not come up swinging afterwards....
Reason to Travel
Hockey gives me a reason to travel. I mean, visiting cities is nice and all, but making yourself go is sort of a moving target. However, if you add a hockey game to that, it's so much better. Always wanted to go to Canada? Sure, some day, right? Well, the Lightning play there, so you can go when they have a game there. It just gives you that added incentive to buy a plane ticket, book a hotel room, and actually go.
The added bonus is that if you're like me, you'll get to see most - if not all - of the NHL arenas in North America one day. We've all got to have goals, and that's one of mine. Though, moving teams and changing arenas keeps changing the count for me.
I love how supportive teammates are of one another. Someone gets injured, and everyone on the ice huddles around to make sure they're okay. Someone injured needs to get off the ice, then teammates will carry them off without a second thought, if necessary. And it's not just one or two guys who are always looking out for their teammates, but everyone is looking out for one another.
It helps that it seems as though the closer the team, the better they play. So when players are tossing around words like "brothers" and "family", they really mean that. It's great to see men care about each other that openly and that deeply. It makes you proud as a fan to be associated with a group of men like that.
Okay, I will be the first to admit that fans can be both the best and the worst. Not just from other teams, but also from the teams we love and follow. When people speak of teams they love and hate, they're including the fans of those teams as well - and sometimes, our feelings about a team are based entirely upon their fans.
Hockey fans are an odd lot in that we often put the sport ahead of the team. If you're somewhere in Indiana, and you come across someone wearing a Boston Bruins' t-shirt, it doesn't really matter if you hate the Bruins or not. They're automatically your comrade in arms, even if you don't speak to them. Seeing someone wearing hockey related stuff somewhere unexpected brightens up your entire day.
And if you get to speak to them, then you automatically have something in common to talk about. You start discussing hockey with total strangers for no reason in the randomest places. And you typically walk away from that with a smile on your face. This sort of thing doesn't really happen in other sports so much, but with hockey fans, it's a regular occurrence. Even if you hate that person's team, you still love that they're a hockey fan.
Seriously, what would we do without each other?