Every year when I watch the NBA draft, I have mixed feelings. The excitement I feel for my favorite teams starts to mingle with the plethora of discontent I hold for how political sports are becoming. This is one of the reasons I am looking forward to the National Hockey League’s next season.
I consider hockey to be the last great sport in America—its level of sportsmanship, excitement, and fan base are leveled with players who give their all the whole game because they love it and referees who make fair calls no matter which MVP is on the ice.
Hockey has always been my favorite sport, and although I could never keep my balance on the ice, I loved watching it. Unlike other sports, hockey players seem to not receive the same attention or notoriety as do soccer, football or basketball players. When I tell people that I enjoy hockey, most of them smile and say “Oh, that’s cool” or just look completely bewildered. They may have a passing familiarity with hockey but can’t really engage in a conversation about it as they most likely could have had I mentioned football or baseball.
Yet being a fan of hockey can have many benefits to your life. For one, it makes you more unique and different. Often tickets to a game will be far cheaper than other sporting arenas, yet the way an ice rink is built will put you closer to the action almost as well as glass seats would. Hockey also has a great history starting from the NHL’s founding in 1917, making it the third oldest major sport in America (next to FIFA and MLB).
Hockey is also one of the fastest-paced games around. It is divided into three 20-minute periods. Although they have their own designations of time to stop (icing, offside, penalty calls and so forth), the periods usually fly by. Players are racing up ice with blazing speed and firing shots that can go up to 100 miles an hour. Missing the first minute of a game could lead to missing out on some big plays. If you love asking yourself “Where did the time go?,” you’ll love hockey.
Though I said hockey has a large amount of sportsmanship, that may be because, unlike other sports, it does not ban fighting. Two players may pretend to be taking an opening face off, but as soon as the puck drops, they drop their gloves and helmets and start throwing punches. Fans especially love take downs in a fight, and these are likely to draw standing ovations. Most teams have a player who is there to take care of the tough stuff, but not many players are afraid to drop the gloves.
One final thing I enjoy with hockey is how it keeps you on your toes. Since 2005, the league has decided that every game should have a winner. If both teams remain tied after the 5 min overtime round, it goes to the shoot out. Each team has one player against the others goalie in a one-on-one, all-or-nothing face off until one scores.
I could go on and on about how awesome hockey is, but only experiencing it will truly explain what I can’t. If you want a more unique, fast-hitting sporting experience, get ready for Weber States Hockey Club at the ice sheet this season, and I’ll see you there.