Puck Daddy ran a series called "5 Reasons I Love Hockey" in August. The series is over but I'm going to post my reasons any way.
5. The smell of the ice
Go watch The Cutting Edge for an explanation.
Summers in Philly can be stifling, with 90+ temps mixed with 90+% humidity and our location between two rivers. So what's a hockey fan - and admitted winter freak - to do?
Change that desktop image to something icy, crank the A/C, and pray for hockey season to roll around. This one's my favorite for inspiring a cool-off.
Bonus? It stirs my sense memory and I can practically smell the frozen water and hear the blades.
Writing this, God, I'd give practically anything to have a rink at my disposal right now. Just grab the skates and go...
4. The fans
There's just something about the women, men, and children who follow this sport that sets us apart somehow. It probably shouldn't be compared to a religion, but if you are a fan, it's serious. Like life sentence serious.
Insanity? Depends on your perspective. Dedication? Definitely.
Anyone in the U.S.A. can be a football, baseball, or basketball fan. And my general reaction will be this: whatever.
But meeting a hockey fan? Within five minutes, maximum, I will have a rolling conversation underway about who's team is better, which team's fans and/or arena is the best (past, present, or dead), who should replace Bettman (stat!), and where you come down on any of a century's worth of "Who's better?"
3. The goalies
Early on, I established that goalies hold a special spot in my fangirl heart. Read Exhibits A, B, and C from September 2007. Keep in mind that I became a devoted hockey fan in no short measure due to a crazy guy named Ron Hextall. (Pfft, Ray Emery wishes he was crazy and bad-ass.)
I guess I have to go back to Plante's and McKenney's remarks, you gotta be a little mental to take on the job and be able to deal with a complete inability to hide your screw-ups. Neither of those concepts is really on the agenda for most people, but goalies live with it every day of the pre-, regular, and post-season.
2. My brother
In all honesty, had Eli not played hockey I probably wouldn't be a hockey fan. Without Eli, I wouldn't know so much about goalies: the physical and mental sides of things. Natch for the Flyers and, I'm sorry, Hextall.
(By the way, Eli could not get enough of being a goalie. If you add soccer to roller and ice hockey seasons, the kid played in goal all year round.)
Eli, I'm sure this is one time you won't mind reading me writing this, but it's all your fault.
1. The Stanley Cup
Wait, does that require an explanation?
It's shiny, sparkly, tall, loaded with history, and big enough that babies can be baptized in it. It's the ultimate accessory to a career and - many times - it requires the legendary kind of effort to win it that leads to your name being whispered reverently by the hockey faithful.
It is the best damn sports trophy. Ever.