Growing up, I never liked hockey. Yep. Growing up in Canada, I never liked it. Always thought it was dumb. One reason, is probably that I was supposed to like it being from Canada. It was ALWAYS ON. People ALWAYS talked about it. Kids wanted to play it. It was all over the place. That pushed me away from it.
"Hey, we're all talking this thing and watching it on TV as much as possible. You want in?"
"Can we talk about or watch something else?"
"What did you just say? Hockey! We're talking HOCKEY! Are you dumb? H-O-C-... and the other letters!"
Also, because everyone in school who liked hockey talked about watching it with their dads. Almost one hundred percent of the time. I didn't have that growing up. Not too many people watched hockey with their moms alone.
"Me and my mom were watching hockey last night. Just the two of us. Then we did some electrical work around the house and my mom taught me how to pick up chicks. She's the best."
That conversation rarely happened. Watching with a dad? Happened every day.
Now though, I'm a fan. I've been to a few games, I'll watch it on TV whenever I get the chance.
I became a fan about a year and a half ago. I was walking to a show in NY just after the last NHL lockout ended. Walking past a bar, I looked in at a TV, and saw a player from the Bruins squaring off against a player from the Rangers. I'm looking at them punch each other, and I thought why the hell have I never liked this? Those men... are fighting... on skates. Skates! While on ice! Fighting on the ground is hard. Skating is hard. Fighting on skates on ice? Insane. Getting punched in the face while you stand on a slippery surface wearing knives? Unreal. Became a fan right there.
Not just because of the fighting. I'm not a fan of UFC, or watching two animals fight in the street, but fighting is such a gentleman thing in hockey. One reason, because now when players fight they are not allowed to take their helmets off. So what do players do when they're going to fight? They look at each other, and each player takes the others helmet off. That's some pure gentleman stuff right there.
I love that problems are settled right then and there. You don't like how you were hit? Or how a guy crashed into your goalie? Or some dude just keeps chirping you? Fight him. Right there. There's no waiting until after the game to complain to the press. You never see hockey players after the games talking about fights during press conferences, because that problem is SOLVED.
That's not the only reason I like hockey. I tried to get into football, but for me there's too much stoppage in play. Football, when a guy who has the ball gets tackled, most times there's a whistle. In hockey, a guy who has the puck will get rocked in the middle of the ice. He'll lose his stick, his helmet will blow off, his soul is cracked. Do they blow a whistle? Do they stop play so that this man can collect his thoughts and catch up with everyone? Nope. He has to just pick his life up while the game goes on around him.
"Is NO ONE going to stop? Do they not see me here? One of my arms blew off! My kids are yelling from the stands that I'm a loser! You're just going to skate BY me? I see how it is, guys. Wait til you catch a puck in the face. See if I care!"
Going to NHL games live is great. I've been to a game in Jersey, New York, and Long Island. New Jersey and Long Island have some great fans. People screaming at guys for messing up simple things. First two minutes of the Islanders game, a player missed a pass, and a fan lost it.
"What the hell are you doing? Get off the goddamn ice! Undress and get the hell out of here!"
First two minutes. Just a regular season game. Guy losing his mind.
It's a small thing, but I like at NHL games too that during the game, the building doesn't play music over top of it. I've always thought that was weird about basketball games. Players have to listen to concerts during games.
"Started from the bottom now I'm here!"
"Drake, can you get off the damn court? I'm trying to shoot a three."
I got up at 630am to watch the Gold Medal game of the Olympics. Years ago I would have just made fun of it and slept in, waking up to here people talking about what happened and still not caring. I'm happy I like it now. Now I just need a dad to talk to about it! Jokes. Just jokes, guys.
To really get a hockey experience while reading this, listen to some ACDC while doing it.