What I love about hockey is how difficult it is. It requires the skills of almost every other major sport (the eye-hand coordination of baseball, the stamina and finesse of basketball and soccer, the physicality of football, etc…) then adds ice skating to it.
I love that it is a team sport in a way that few team sports are. I love that a game can be tied 0-0 one minute and literally less than a minute later, it could realistically be 2-1 or 3-0 and another minute later, who knows—it may be tied again. I love that spectacular saves are just as appreciated as spectacular goals. I love that for every superstar, there’s ten guys who are as important or maybe even more important to their teams.
I love how hard it is to be a champion in hockey… yes in the NHL, but at any level. I love how difficult hockey is to understand. I love that it is just as mentally demanding of a sport as it is physically demanding and it requires every player to be extremely intelligent and extremely educated about the game.
I love that it’s the only sport that recognizes that violence is as much a part of the world as cooperation. I love that even when players are throwing fists at each other’s faces, they still show one another respect… and stop if they find they have an unfair advantage because they’re arm has come completely out of their sleeve, or their opponent has fallen over, or he’s bleeding badly. I love that even though it recognizes the need for violence, it also punishes it appropriately.
I love that on any given night, any player on the team might be the hero and when he is, and they interview him after, he talks about the team—how it was just his turn to step up—how all he did was work hard and do his job—how other people worked just as hard so that he could even have the opportunity to be the hero—how the goalie kept them in the game—how it’s just one win and tomorrow is another day.
I love the communities that hockey inspires. I love that people never stop playing the game, even into their seventies or eighties, if they can help it. I love that few people understand why this is true.
I love everything about hockey.