Saturday, July 21, 2007

Its The Players Stupid!

Why am I an NHL Hockey fan ... because of passion, because of honor, because of commitment. I recently read a post on why being a Hockey fan "matters." Here is an extremely well written account of what true hockey fans worship ... to read the story go to this link -

What this story shows me is what I already knew, but what many in our country have NO clue about ... that Hockey is a LIFESTYLE! This sport is for the ones who think there are not enough hours in the day to work on their Hockey skills. For the kids growing up in Canada towns like Moosefactory, Ontario (the home town of Jonathan Cheechoo) and others places where any surface covered by ice is considered a place to practice. For them to dream about NHL fame and winning the Stanley Cup is ingrained into their genetic structure ... now, take a look at this story -

Here is a story about 2 kids who played Jr Hockey at 8 years old when the Phoenix Coyotes were introduced to Phoenix, AZ ... from the beginning, they had dreams about representing their city in the NHL - they would tell family and friends about playing in the NHL for the Coyotes.

This story is inspiring to say the least. I am going to look forward to watching their NHL careers over time and I hope they are given that chance to live their dreams. Which leads me to something I have been thinking about for a couple days. The players in the NHL have to be the most humble and honorable athletes in professional sports. I do not understand people when they argue over "Which is the better sport" - I usually let the conversation go until the "Big 3 - NFL, MLB, NBA have been brought into the mix" ... that is when I chime in "What about the NHL?" Most times I am met with statements like the game is boring, you cant see the puck, not enough scoring, and my favorite - it is to violent!

Like lambs to the slaughter - I start asking them questions ... "How many touchdowns are there in a 21 - 28 football game?" They normally answer with "Hello - 3 and 4!" Which I then say, so how is a 3 - 4 hockey game "not enough scoring?" That is where that argument normally ends and I move on to the next excuse.

I ask them what is exciting about football - they play for the same amount of time hockey does (1 hour), however, in football their "plays" last for 8 to 10 seconds then they get a break, most of the time the clock continues to count down, which tells me that as a fan - you are paying to watch grass grow. In Hockey - if the clock is counting, they are playing! I have had people try to tell me that Baseball is NOT boring, however, normally less than 25 seconds into their "reasoning" they, themselves, lose the point they were making and give up trying to make baseball un-boring. Don't get me wrong - Baseball is an amazing sport to go watch with a group of friends - a couple beers, bag of peanuts, nice sunny day, a live baseball game in front of you ... I agree baseball is a great sport to watch. But as athletes? The physical aspect of baseball I don't get. Moving on!

Basketball - you either love it or hate it. I can not stand the NBA, not because they are strong athletes, not because they are very talented (I cant sink a free throw to save my life!) ... my issue with the NBA has to do with attitude and character (this bleeds over into the NFL also - but it is more blatant in the NBA). The type of players who represent the NBA are not men I want my children looking up to. Most of the time - when interviewed after a game I will be lucky if I can understand 2 out of 10 words that the players use to convey their thoughts on the game. I believe that with the level of talent that are blessed enough to be in professional sports ... you should be respectful and honorable.

Now - I am not saying NHL players do not get into trouble. My post here is about the leagues and how they represent themselves. MLB with the Steroids scandal, NFL with Michael Vick and Terrell Owens, the NBA with their officiants working for the mob and calling fouls to affect the point spread!!! ARE YOU KIDDING??? The "you cant touch me" attitude that infect allot of these very talented athletes is going to be the undoing of many careers and possibly leagues and franchises.

However - the NHL is a league that is full of passion, honor, integrity, character ... sure they have their inner struggles and anomalies, but what they don't have is arrogance! They play the sport because that is what they were put here on earth to do. Hockey is their life - Hockey is their definition ... in order to break out of that mold, one has to set himself apart.

I may be biased on the NHL - but the record speaks for itself ... jump back a few postings and look at my thoughts on the NHL drug use policy!!! You want to completely unravel the NBA ... implement that policy and watch the rats abandon the sinking ship!!!

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