5. Outdoor Rinks
I believe the phrase “The Passion That Unites Us" is best described through outdoor rinks. Only a few places in the world, can make complete strangers come together and become immediate friends to overcome the obstacle of destroying your opponents. It’s the competition, the overhead lighting, late nights, the frost-bite that will undoubtedly emerge afterwards and hockey at it’s rawest form that make pond hockey so great.
4. The Rivalry
Hatred of another team is natural for all sports but it seems to manifest itself best in hockey. From the NHL all the way down to minor hockey. Due to the immense hatred between two teams makes everything about the game heightened, just so you can rub it in your opponent’s faces later. Games are harder, faster and tougher. Players sacrifice their bodies more often and true stars usually immerge to showcase why they're the best. As a leaf fan at the turn of the millennium, watching the leafs beat the Senators four out five years in the playoffs were some of my favourite moments as a leaf-fan and why still today I support the boys in blue and white.
3. ‘That’ Fan
For those of us who have played minor hockey as kids (harder to spot in the NHL), you all know who I’m talking about. Not the diehard fans who show up to every game to support their team, but the one whose sanity is called into question on a nightly basis. There is usually one or two of them on any team and can make watching games just as enjoyable as actually playing in them. They yell, they scream, they heckle referees, they try to get into the fights with other parents, coaches, referees, and if you’re really lucky even the players (remember the guy who fell into the penalty box to get the shit beat out of him by Tie Domi, Yeah, That guy). These fans seem to make hockey enjoyable for everyone, especially for those who few who may not be particularly into the sport. For years, I went to my older brother’s (who also happened to be on this site) hockey games to watch in amazement as one Dad would curse, fight, and get thrown out of the arena every so often. It was awesome.
2. The Dream
Everyone has had that dream either as a kid or still today, who didn’t want to score the winning goal to win the Stanley Cup? Or be able to play in the NHL? For so many, these dreams never come to fruition however, they will change over time. Mine like so many on this site, dream that one day the Maple Leafs will win the cup and be part of the victory parade afterwards. Since these dreams rarely are achieved, it makes the defeats more devastating and the victories all the sweeter.
1. The Stories
Talking about hockey is why I love this sport the most; it accumulates everything that has happened in the past from their perspective. These stories are always different depending on the person (ie. What was the reaction of the people around you when Crosby scored the OT goal to win the Gold Medal?) And can be told over and over again and won’t get old. They range from all aspects of hockey from watching your first NHL game, to when your team won the cup, to that time something happened when you were playing. Everyone seems to have at least a dozen good stories or more and they get better every time they are told. If you have never spent a four hour car ride with someone who played either OHL or even NHL a few decades ago, I highly suggest it.