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Part 1: Ten Obscure Things I Love About Hockey

December 15, 2009

The goals! The intensity! Eff that, they’ve all been done. Here’s part one of obscure things that dominate brain far more than they should.

1. Gloves
Someone with a solid set of gloves that fits their hands perfectly just seems to scream ‘dangle’ to me. You can tell that a dude can handle the puck when he or she has a solid grip on their stick (!) and looks more like they’re handling a pool cue (Ales Hemsky) as opposed to a two-by-four (Jason Strudwick).
This obviously should have a lot to do with just having the proper size of mitts, so then why do some players look like they’re wielding the wood (!!) for the first time in their lives? Derian Hatcher comes to mind. Even The gloves with the big long cuffs a la Wayne Gretzky and Ryan Smyth seem to be tight and suited to the player. Gloves go a long way toward the notion of ‘look good, feel good, play good’, a notion that I’ve only ever mastered the former two thirds of.
Fabric, not leather. Leather wrecks cows, don’t you know that? Hockey likes cows, stay away from the leather. Fabric is where it’s at, leather gloves make me feel like Bobby Dollas. Cory Cross was a sweet guy, but I bet he wore leather gloves. Think about it.

2. Visors
My friend and ex-roommate T-Day used to go off about guys that still insisted on rocking the worst, ugliest, obviously most useless and visually obstructing visors ever. While he might not have cleaned up after his girlfriend enough, he was bang-on about the visor thing. Newer Itech and Oakley straight viseys that are straight along the bottom are so sharp and pro-fesh, what’s Brian Rafalski thinking?
Wait, on that note, what’s going through the brains of every single Detroit Red Wing? Rafalski, Lidstrom, KIRK MALTBY, why does Detroit insist on wearing relics from Vincent Damphouse’s basement? These things are just awful, get a grip.
Edit: I knew there had to be pre-existing bitching on this.
Honourable mention to Petr Sykora; why is his face always crooked?

3. Shower Pops
A couple guys I’ve played beer league with introduced me to shower beers, and they’re everything you could possibly imagine. Plus they get you loosened up so you don’t care as much that four of you are sharing… wait, nevermind. Let’s just leave it at this: everyone loves to drink something cold while standing in something hot. Holy eff I think I just invented the greatest quote of all time!
The other half of this obscure hockey thing that I love is that shower pops indicate that hockey is over, which has always been a pretty good feeling too, especially when you get older. Not because I don’t like hocky, I really mean that it’s a good feeling when working hard is over, like when you’re done a bag-skate. Coaches always used to tell me that it’d feel great when it’s over, and boy has that ever rang true in a lot of different avenues in life.

4. Hockey Speeches
Pump-up speeches or pre-game chats come in a variety of forms, from uber-exciting ‘great job gang!’ types to dark and foreboding proclamations of a need to string all of the players up by the neck. The best are when the rage shines through. Everyone remembers that time when your half psychotic coach booted the garbage can across the room and all the broken bottles that were in it that your buddy spent a half hour smashing with the knob of his stick in the first intermission sprays all over another guy’s gloves and then cuts the bajeezuz out of his hands the whole third period. That was awesome.
My favorite thing to do is to pick up a stick while you’re giving it to the team and just spin it around in your hands. You’re even more intimidating when it’s broken in half. And you have blood shooting from your ears.

5. New Twigs and Tape Jobs
My favorite thing to do as a player was to chill out with a buddy on game day and watch Rock ‘em Sock ‘em videos and tape our sticks. It was such a process, I know a bunch of guys who could do that ultra fast tape job and be done with it, but I really liked to take my time and get it right. Too bad that’s a lesson I never transferred to real life, snap! Aw, I made myself sad.
I know a guy who used to tell me which way any player I could name shot the puck (right vs. left) and I would counter with telling him what kind of skates they all wore. I think this is because I was fast and had zero hands around the net, and the guy I’m referring too had ok wheels but could snipe from anywhere. Interesting, but I think it’s in people’s brains, what kind of players they are.
Anyway, getting a new stick is always a good thing (!!!), I’ve always had the best shot with a brand new stick and a sharp white tape job. Even though I’m not racist. And that garbage about black tape vs. white tape and the goalie being able to see the puck, is that true? I know that different colours of goalie pads don’t affect my ability to shoot straight into the chest or to miss the net by five feet from the top of the crease.


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