Friday, June 09, 2006

This Post Is Not About Hockey... Okay, Well, Sorta...

As you must know by now, I am a hockey fan. I am also a girl. Many non-hockey fans think I am a rarity. I am not. Lemme 'splain.

Chicks dig hockey. And there are many reasons they do. And if you are a chick, and you don't dig hockey, it's probably because you either: a) have never seen a game, b) have only seen a game on television, c) have never seen a minor league game through two or three brewskies or even wine coolers, or d) have never seen an NHL game sober. Ladies, if you are a hockey virgin, you must immediately mark your calendar for next season and go see one. Even if you have to drive, say, three hours to the nearest hockey town. I dunno, like maybe Phoenix or something. Or Vancouver. Or D.C. I'm just giving examples here.

And don't even give me the "I don't like ANY sports line." Because I didn't either.

And if you are a chick and have read, or attempted to read, any of Chris' hockey blog entries and thought, my GOD this is BORING... don't despair. Hockey isn't about talking. It's about doing. That is a lot of the appeal for women. In fact, let's explore all the appeal factors for women.

Hockey is fast.
Let's face it, these guys are running on really slippery stuff. They are bound to move fast. You can't say that it isn't amazing to watch people move so fast with such purpose.

Hockey requires mad skillz, yo.
Not only are these guys running on ICE... they are moving a puck around and trying to get it past a (traditionally) really big guy into a (proportionally) really small goal. And they are crashing into each other and switching on and off the ice and watching out for which line they cross when... whew! Talk about multitasking. Ladies, these guys are focused.

Hockey players are athletes.
Where else do you need speed, precision, strategy, teamwork, and the ability to balance on thin slits of metal while on a slippery surface? Baseball players are fat (or doped up); basketball players are thin, thin, thin; football players are heavy as crap, but hockey players are lean, built, and have the cardio function of a machine. I would argue that no other sport requires such athletic skills.

Hockey players are team players.
This is truly a team sport. No single player can win it alone. Not even Gretsky. Okay, well, maybe HE could... but anyway. Women like team sports. We like seeing men working together for a common goal. It's a throwback to hunters of old.

And speaking of Darwin...
Hockey players are sexy. All the above traits factor into that whole natural selection thing. And let me tell you... even if your hormones are completely tuned to that special someone you married, your body will buzz when these guys are around. So even if you are the most shallow person alive... hockey has something for you. Of course, should you try to act on said lust, more power to you. For example, my favorite player is Erik Cole. Cute, isn't he? Yeah, well, his wife is gorgeous, is a skilled hockey player herself, and used to be a New York State Trooper. Let's just say that "cat fight" could not even be in the vocabulary of this woman. Try "ass kicking."

Hockey players are gentlemen.
For the most part, hockey players are the nicest guys on Earth. There are exceptions. I won't name names (Laraque, Orpik), but occasionally someone plays a bit dirty. Still, I live in a community where hockey players are the main pro athletes, and they really give back. Seriously. And their personal appearances are never laden with any bad attitude. They are really friendly guys.

Hockey players have a sense of humor.
There are many examples of this, but I must give a shout out to Ray Whitney and Mike Commodore of the Hurricanes. Here is a letter to Phil Coffey, a columnist for nhl.com.

Phil,

There's two things with the Carolina Hurricanes that demonstrate the loose character of this team, and are potential topics for your column:

1) Mike Commodore & the robe.
For Christmas, Mike selected a white bathrobe as a gift from the team. He had one of the equipment guys embroider it with his number 22. He did an interview in the robe and since then, it has become a best seller in the team store. Each game, you will find impressive numbers of fans in the stands wearing an embroidered robe and a huge red afro-type wig. Being the character he is, Commodore has enamored himself to the fans like no other blue-liner has in the past. Funny.
-link to video

2) Where's Whitney.[sic]
During warm-ups, Trip [sic] Tracy, the team's TV color commentator interviews a player. It has become something that we all look forward to as Ray Whitney always finds a way to get on-camera. He mugs and pans behind the player being interviewed by slowly popping up in the space between Tripp and the player, or gracefully skating laterally across the space pretending not to look at the camera. While not a huge thing, it is something that every Caniac looks forward to. Upon request of my kids, I record each game just so that they can watch
"Where's Whitney" when we return from attending the game.

OK, OK, so these are not huge things, but they demonstrate the looseness, personality and camaraderie of the team, and go along way to endearing this team to the home crowd. It is the little things like this that help differentiate the quality of the people playing the game from other pro-team sports. I'm sure there are other and similar "personalities" in the game and a column on these sorts of antics would be welcome.

-- Fred Moore, Carolina Hurricanes Season Ticket Holder
Knightdale, NC

Hi Fred. Thanks for passing those along. That's funny stuff and now it is in Ice Age. Thanks for passing it along. I don't think I've ever come away from an NHL dressing room after an odd-day practice without a smile because of some of the funny stuff that's going on.


Want to see it for yourself? Watch NBC at 8pm EDT tomorrow and when the players are warming up, watch for an interview with any Carolina player. By the end, you will have seen Ray Whitney. If not, I'll eat my hat.

Hockey is mentally entertaining.
If you want, there is plenty to think about as the guys skate their butts off. If nothing else, let's not forget the great French-Canadian names. Heck, even the Finnish names. Edmonton has a goalie named "Jussi." Yes, that's pronounced "Juicy." How entertaining is THAT?!

Hockey is old and revered.
The Stanley Cup is the oldest trophy in hockey (born in 1892). And it has great stories of its own. Too many to name here. But here's the thing... I've even touched the Stanley Cup. It's not hard to do. It's a very accessible trophy. You've got to hand it to the Canadians. They are a friendly lot. They will share their most prized possession with pride and joy. And really, it IS theirs... even when it stays down here for a year, which it is about to do.

So, in my most manly, girl voice, I scream from the mountaintop...

GO, CANES!

6 comments:

Sophie said...

I agree.... I had the biggest crush on Sylvain Turgeon growing up - he used to play for the Hartford Whalers (before they came to Raleigh as the Carolina Hurricanes). My brother is even named after him... How's that for loyalty?

Chris said...

Very nice! I may have to link to this post on my blog.

Jessey said...

It's true, I've never seen any live hockey, except roller hockey and that was just my brother's pee-wee team.
I have been to pro football (Raiders, in the Black Hole no less) and of course baseball games, and I consider myself a sports fan.
This post is funny because this morning I was looking at the rug in my son's room, it has baseballs, soccer balls, basketballs and footballs. I asked my husband:
"How come in all these sporty things, there's no hockey puck?"

"Because hockey sucks," he said, drawing the ire of most of the people who will read this comment.

Chris said...

What's that? Oh, yep - there it is - Ire.

jen said...

This is a great post, eaf! While I used to watch a little pro hockey on tv back in the day (remember those hot twins who played for the Rangers?), I've never been to a live game. I do love sports, though, and find hockey kinda similar to soccer (my all-time favorite sport)...but without the ice. and the sticks. and the pucks. and the pads. ...okay, not so much, then. But anyway, what I'm trying to say here is that I think it's high time I get myself to a game.

Oh, and can I whine again about how unfair (well, to me, anyway!) it is that you're transferring to the other library?

Jessey said...

I told Bob that it probably wasn't because hockey sucks but because it would look like a flying Ding Dong amid all those other sports balls.
He disagreed.