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5 Things I Love About Hockey: Part 2

January 19, 2010
This pretty much sums it all up.

This pretty much sums it all up.

I’ve been meaning to write this for awhile, and these days it seems more pertinent than ever. It’s interesting to hear about bandwagon and fairweather fans, but it’s pretty hard to blame some of them for not wanting to watch the Edmonton Oilers. The team just isn’t very good, and when you emotionally invest yourself in a sports franchise, it’s nice to see them win once in a while. Whether you want the players to feel good about themselves or you just want to feel smart for saddling up to a winner, a successful team is just a lot more fun. And the Oilers are anything but a successful team. From top to bottom (The Springfield Falcons, Edmonton Oil Kings and Stockton Thunder), this organization is stuck in the winter of everyone’s discontent. Shakespeare. Write that down.

1. The Olympics
They’re almost here! Every four years hockey fans in Canada and other countries unite to cheer their team towards a common goal: Olympic Gold. It was nice in the mid-nineties when the Oilers seemed to send half their team to the tournament, but this is a list about things I like about hockey. It’s comforting to cheer for players and villians in the NHL when they battle for your country, and it gives you something to cheer about during a season’s worth of gongshow-ness.

2. Heart
In all seriousness, the most inspiring aspects of the game of hockey happen when a player goes above and beyond their inherent abilities for the good of their team or their country. This doesn’t refer to Jarrett Stoll getting ripped in both feet a couple years ago in Edmonton with pucks; he didn’t mean to block them. When Steve Staios dives in front of multiple shots in the third period of a nothing game against an Eastern Conference team, that’s heart. Showing up to the rink early and having all of your gear prepared shows heart. Working on your skills away from the rink or away from the team shows heart. It’s too bad that it isn’t a prequisite to skill, but watching hockey players of all ages sacrifice to improve themselves on and off the ice is a beautiful thing.

3. Powerplays
Get creative. Especially at younger ages, coaches are afraid to try different things during special teams. I’m sure there’s a formula that works more often than anything else, but a powerplay should reflect the specific skill-sets of your players on the ice.

4. Brainwashing
I coach because I get a rush out of brainwashing young players to become better people and better citizens. I’ve had the discussion about the merits of losing your mind when you get cut off in traffic a million times, and it relates because hockey is about worrying about yourself and the circumstances that you can control. It’s alright to trick someone into being a better person as long as your intentions are worthy. Which mine are, because I’m perfect.

5. Being a fan
Throughout stressful times it’s important to remember why we’re fans of this game in the first place. The Edmonton Oilers don’t care about our pain while we watch them tank the season, they’ve only got enough pity for themselves. Don’t kid yourself, it’s harder on them than it is on any fan, and if this isn’t true for you then give your life a quick once-over. I’m a fan because I like the rules of the game, the logistics, the intangibles, and the sheer beauty that the frozen stick n’ puck game creates. For me, it will always be fun to cheer for the team in the town that I grew up with, the team that my dad passed on to me, and if I can still complain and find worthy material to write about and to inspire me, then it’s not all bad.

For me, that is. For anyone financially involved with the team (this doesn’t include ticket-buyers, that’s your choice), this must be one of the toughest and darkest times you’ll ever face. Unless you have no heart and you don’t care. In that case, please leave our city and let us watch a new team created upon the backs of those that would see it through to better times.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. January 19, 2010 8:16 pm

    where is part 1 mister perfect?

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