I know everyone just love poor English and arrogant Europeans, so here's my humble list of various reasons for my love to this king of all sports.
Vodka Hockey - connecting people
I believe hockey is an universal language. It brings people together and in best case, gives you a chance to get to know new people. Even if you lack a common language there are words and phares every hockey fan knows, like "The Great One", Sundin, Leafs, Stanley Cup, Olympics, five hole etc.
I really haven't read any other sport blogs but I have feeling that hockey blogs are among the best ones if not the best. There are so many of them that can bring you the information with personality, wittyness and fun. Well, in some cases, at least wittyness and fun if not info... ;)
Since many of the blogs concentrate mostly to just one team, they tend to have more stories to share than the old media or the general sport blogs. I'd say, you will never learn as much about a team and its players than by reading a good blog dedicated to it.
3. The art-esque beauty ft. roughness
There are not too many sports that can honestly be said to feature both breathtaking beauty and toothdropping toughness. But those both can be found in hockey. No one with functional eyes can deny the fact that at the best, the way world's top scorer can handle the puck while using dmen as slalom sticks before fooling the goalie is a piece of art. And no one can deny that hockey wouldn't get rough at times. While it can get too rough, hard and clean hits add spice to the game and are vital part of it.
2. Olympics & World Championship
I know Worlds are not the most valued hockey tournament and seen as spring training for the golf season to those who no longer have chances for the Cup but for me they were and are the way to see (some of) the top players and my team to fight for the gold. Worlds were also - along with Olympics - the first hockey games I saw (mostly thanks to my dad who doesn't care about hockey outside of the national team) and fell in love with.
Those competitions are also the reason I started to pay attention to NHL in the first place. I wanted to see my carefully selected favourites (read, the whole team Russia and few Slovaks) in action more often than once in a year, if even that. And since I'm probably not alone with this, NHL should really think twice before banning the Olympics from the players.
1. Finland (vs. Sweden)
There's nothing like a nationalist rivalry between two small countries over a sport. Especially since my country usually forgets to show up. Ahem.
Seriously though, for me the most breathtaking hockey moments have been delivered by my national team. I'm pretty sure I didn't breathe for 60 minutes during the Torino Olympic final. Nor have I ever cried as much for a sport than during the first period of the Finland - USA game in Vancouver. The emotion and passion included can either get you into 7th heaven or drive you to the edge of the nearest cliff depending on the outcome.
I always mock Finland, threating to dump them, but in reality, they are my team and always will be. Can't leave them even if I wanted. They can lift me high above the clouds, they can drop me to the deepest corner of despair.
It is an ultimate love/hate affair but I can't think any other sport I could take the emotional bitch slaps to face for the few good moments.