Over the past season Puck Daddy was a running a "Five Reasons Why _______ Loves Hockey" segment. Examples of that site can be found here... Puck Daddy: Five Reasons Why I Love Hockey. Well since we're in a bit of a dead period; The Cup has been won, the draft is 2 weeks away, Free Agency starts July 1st, I figured I'd try a stab at the five reasons I love hockey.
Reason #1: The Goal Celebration. The pass, the shot, goal. And everyone at once raises their hands and gives out a "Yaa!!" The goal scorer, the players on the ice, the bench, the crowd, everyone. The light goes off, the spotlight goes on the scorer, everything seems to happen in about a half a second. That is such an awesome feeling. Heck even at home I find myself throwing my hands up and looking around as if to find a "high-five buddy." Its one of the few things that are unlike any other sport. Football? Eh, usually you can see a touchdown coming. Its either a goal line/redzone touchdown or a long one, in which the quick reaction isnt as effective since you can see them going to the "10, 5, touchdown." There is no "center ice, blue line, goal." in hockey. Maybe a homerun in baseball, but even then you see a ball traveling over 300 feet. Its not a one-timer from the faceoff dot... not the same. And since this is a Sabres themed site... I couldnt talk about goal celebrations without mentioning Rick Jeanneret. The guys a legend and there isnt much I have to say about him that doesnt give you goosebumps. "May Day" "These guys are good, scary good!" "We are not worthy" and many, many more. He truely is amazing. He is one of my earlier memories of hockey, I think hes the single reason I use the word "carom" when it comes to hockey instead bounce or reflect.
Reason #2: The History. Whether it be the history of your favorite team, player or the league as a whole... theres a lot of it out there. Read it, watch it, look it up... because its all interesting. There are plently of cool little stories that you might not ever know unless you just get interested and look for them. One of the deepest, historic sports out there. Im only 21 years old, but I've done a helluva lot of research on this game. Since I was a little kid I can remembering wanting to know more. I never played organized ice hockey, but damn I was a master out on the driveway, I had one of those goals with a goalie in it, pretty cool. But as far as actually skating, only ever really did that on my pond. But it was my dad and grandpa that actually hooked me onto the sport. Everytime I'd be with them, if they weren't talking Bills, they were talking Sabres. I have to give all the credit to them for the reason Im as passionate about those two teams to them. But about the Sabres, I'll never forget my grandpa yelling at the TV, or listening to games that were blacked out. From stories of them sitting in the "orange" at The Aud, stories about the French Connection, all of it. While Im a ways from having a kid of my own, I hope (keeps fingers crossed haha) one day to share that kind of stuff with my kid. So the history doesnt even have to be looking at numbers or reading old articles, it can be something as simple as just listening to someone whose seen things and watched games that we might not have been able to.
Reason #3: Injuries. "Per FSD's Ken Daniels, the Red Wings won't have the services of Dan Cleary, who has a lower body injury." Wtf is a lower body injury? Google "out with a lower body injury." How many players have a lower body injury? At least two a team, I love it. I love the non-specific nature that coaches use when describing an injury. There are no sprained ankles, there are no rotator cuff injuries. Its upper or lower body, thats it. You look at something like the NFL injury report. They have 4 different words to descibe an injury and % of the player playing... not in the NHL. Plus there is the players that play through injuries. It was just reported that Andrew Ladd of the Blackhawks was playing the entire SCF with a torn shoulder. Damn, thats a hockey player. You'll even here Sportscenter refer to players such as Steve Nash after him coming back to the game after his broken nose as, "Eh, of course he came back, hes a hockey player." No one wants to let their team down, and they sure as hell dont want to let them down because of an injury. And then there is Duncan Keiths smile at the end of the Finals, that shows you right there what it means to be a hockey player. The number one defenseman on the team, playing a crazy amount of minutes, 7 missing teeth, playoff beard... but its all worth it. Name on The Cup.
Reason #4: Hockey Names. Henrik Zetterberg, Vinny Lecavalier, Dominik Hasek, Alexander Mogilny, Steve Yzerman, Alexander Ovechkin, Luc Robitaille, Patrick Roy. Hockey names. You dont see names like that as kindergarden teachers or as bus drivers. You hear a name like that you think a hockey player. Also nicknames, some are as simple as Roysie (sorry twoeightnine, haha) for Derek Roy, AO for Alex Ovechkin, or Kaner for Patrick Kane. But then there are the good ones, The Rocket for Maurice Richard, Mr. Hockey for Gordie Howe or Super Mario for Mr. Lemieux. And who could forget nicknames for certain lines. One of the most famous line names in NHL history is right here from Buffalo in 'The French Connection' made up for Perreault, Martin and Robert or the 'Legion of Doom' in Philly during the 90's or the 'Red Army' / 'Russian 5' that won back to back championships during the 90's Detroit. The nicknames are usually pretty corny, but still a staple of the sport.
Reason #5: The number 99. The number 99 is hockey. I know for me, first thing I think of when I see the number 99 is Wayne Gretzky, The Great One. Always have, probably always will. Its such an odd number, but thats what makes it so great. Who didnt at one point after watching him do his thing on the ice didn't want a 99 jersey. Its a very symbolis number, its even made its way to rap, "I got two nines on me like Wayne Gretzky." - Drake. While its not the best way to portray Gretzky, its still cool to see how his name and number are being thrown around still.
You guys feel free to add some stuff if you'd like. Just kind of thought about writing something like this after that series on Puck Daddy, thought it was pretty cool.