Over the summer of 2009, Puck Daddy was asking bloggers to contribute a post detailing five reasons why they love hockey. In February 2014, staff here at Raw Charge resurrected the topic through a series of posts. New staff member Brett joins the previous entries to our "Five Things" series.
Realistically, I could probably come up with one hundred. But these particular ones are a good start.
Duplicating the spectating experience of hockey to other sports is unattainable. It is extremely hard to be bored with the continuous action taking place on the ice, and the possibility of anything exciting happening in the blink of an eye. The simultaneous spur of the moment celebration of fans raising to their feet after a goal is a special aspect of the game. Hockey fans are passionate and support their teams to the fullest. Traditions such as tossing hats on the ice or growing a playoff beard are what make this game one of a kind.
Hockey punishes a team's player in the most logical way for making a mistake. No moving back a few feet or giving the other team a few free points instead. The power play is one of the most exciting parts of the sport; a game of beat the clock whether you have the man advantage or are trying to protect your goalie with the limited men you have available. And plus it is always comical to see grown men having to sit in timeout. The only slight downfall is when referees do not keep consistency between teams in the penalties they assess.
Paying to attend a game as aggressive as hockey is usually satisfying enough, but witnessing a fight is an added bonus. Opposing players who have beef with each other can settle it in the most straightforward way instead of just verbally. Fighting is not only a part of the game, but part of the hockey culture altogether. Of course, some fights are more lively than others, depending on factors like the referees' patience as well as players' experience on going lick for lick. Although new NHL rules before this last season put more restrictions on players dropping the gloves to duke it out, it still has not taken away from the thrill too much.
An Actual Team Sport
Although hockey players have certain positions, just as with any other sport, all players can break out at one point or another and become a star, whether it is longterm or just for the night. Line changes allow everyone on the active roster to get a chance to prove themselves without having to sit on the bench the whole game as a second or third string, not necessarily excluding goalies either. Some star players have off nights, it happens, but watching overlooked players step up and fill voids unexpectedly is an exciting phenomenon. Every player gets a chance every night.
The NHL postseason is what makes the entire regular season worthwhile. Even when your team is not in it, there are plenty of games and rounds to keep up with. Sure, hockey is not the only sport with a four round best of seven game series format, but final minute goalie pulls and sudden death overtimes certainly beat watching athletes put on a thespian performance of flopping and purposely halting the clock in the final seconds to manipulate the game instead of actually playing it. The outcome in the Stanley Cup Playoffs is unexpected, no one really knows what will happen, increasing the excitement and intensity round after round.