Sunday, August 12, 2007


An Explanation as to Why I Love Hockey

One thing that is quite obvious to most people who know me is that I really enjoy sports. I like soccer (namely the NY Red Bulls, Fulham, and the U.S. men's national team). I like football – both the pro game and the college version (thanks to Rutgers stepping it up). I even like playing basketball (though watching it has gotten difficult in recent years). However, one sport rules above them all: hockey. That should come as no surprise, as I spend quite a bit of time looking forward to New Jersey Devils games, other hockey events (e.g. playoffs, NHL Draft), and blogging about the best team in the tri-state area (which you know because you're, well, here).

However, a valid question that you can ask me is why hockey? Why is hockey #1 in your heart, why do you say you “bleed Devils red” and so proudly? Why not, say, the classical works of Jean Sebastian Bach or literary works of contemporary authors of the mid-1800s?

In my opinion, J.S. Bach, the contemporary authors of the mid-1800s, or any supposed “proper” and “cultured” interest cannot compete with the excitement, energy, skill, and most importantly the passion that we see in sports. Where else can you see people devoted to a task to achieve success (note: a larger contract would be a success of sorts, but victory is more of what I’m talking about), where it is not only accepted but encouraged to literally put a majority of effort in competition at a physical, emotional, and mental cost. While I am not naïve enough to believe this happens in every game in every sport, it happens a lot more than anything else, in my opinion.

So that’s why I’m into sports, in a nutshell; but it relates to why I love hockey. The game of hockey, in my opinion, is simply the most exciting sport around. Namely, I am focusing on the NHL, which is the highest level of hockey, featuring the most talented hockey players in the entire world. The game is constantly flowing, only stopping if an infraction occurs, a goal occurs, or if the goaltender wills it. When it is flowing, it is fast and those who look away for only a brief moment could be robbed of seeing the glory of a goal. What’s more is the scoring itself. The vast majority of goals are all earned, even garbage goals resulting from a scrum. Goaltenders and defenders go to great lengths to stop the other team from scoring; risking their bodies at times just to rob the other team from going ahead in the score. When a goaltender gets hot and just starts making great saves, it is equally worthy of praise and respect similar to a forward just burning the opposition to bury a puck into the net. Not only is the game fast and comprised of players whose positions dictate and result in an entertaining struggle in competition, it is quite physical. Lowering the proverbial boom on an opposing player with the puck is gratifying and never boring. It’s not just a game that favors only the skilled, but also the toughness – be it by someone who provides the checks or who receives them. Hockey has it all and plenty of it: skill, toughness, excitement, and passion.

While I’m exaggerating a bit in my description and while I’m aware not every game is an epic struggle as the prior description may indicate, this is how I feel about hockey. To illustrate what I’m going on about, some examples from the prior season come to my mind. I see it when Zach Parise back-checks into his zone, shoves Petr Prucha down in the slot to prevent him from even thinking of scoring, picking up the loose puck, dishing it off, skating as fast as he can down the ice the other way, collecting a future pass while continuing to fly into the Rangers’ zone, and beats Henrik Lundqvist cleaner than a new car for a goal. I see it when Colin White gloriously dropped jerk extraordinaire Sean Avery in the corner with a brutal hit. I see it when Jay Pandolfo, a superstar only within his own family and IPB Manor, shuts down opposing star forwards such as Jaromir Jagr. I see it when Martin Brodeur makes a save so brilliant that it requires me to rewind the DVR just to get another look at it. And I always, always see it whenever a team has battled hard for 16 wins in the post season to earn the right to lift Lord Stanley’s Cup – regardless of who it is.

Those sorts of moments happen more often than I can count. OK, not all moments are the same, but these are examples of what I am talking about. It’s why I make a point of it to watch it on television, spend countless hours on the Internet reading or writing about it, and why I talk about it quite a bit – having all kinds of analogies to the sport pop up in my head.

To put it simply, the game of hockey played at its highest level is why I love hockey. I wish I could articulate my reasoning better, but for now this explanation will do.


This post originally appeared at Interchangeable Parts back in July. I'm re-posting it here for two reasons. The first is for my own posterity. The second is because I plan to refer to this for some future posts I plan to right and it'll be easier to refer to my own blog than IPB's. Thanks to IPB for posting it up then.
Fantastically explained, dude. Your reasoning was explained thoroughly.

It is funny, though, how all of the reasons you listed are basically why I have collegiate football as my #1 sport and then hockey. (Then pro football and then there is a long, long gap before baseball shows up on my list.)
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