Technology has spoiled us as hockey fans. Stats about everything from faceoffs percentage to CORSI to fighting majors in the ECHL are a click away. We have blogs dedicated to every team in every League. And not only do we not have to twiddle our thumbs while our modems connect through dial-up, we can access all of these things on our phones. It's like the [expletive] Jetsons.
This was not always the case, of course. Back in the day, the hockey landscape online was a disparate collection of message boards and fan sites that were so overloaded with graphics, it's a miracle any of them actually loaded on your Compaq Presario. But boy, did they have their DIY charms.
(Note: The death of Geocities really robbed us of a lot of cheese-tastic pages. You can still find some relics here or there, but it's like all of the TV from the early 1950s suddenly disappearing.)
Here are 7 Cheesy Neglected NHL Fan Pages We Absolutely Adore.1. The Rick Tocchet Online Shrine
A glorious repository of information about the Philadelphia Flyers legend and former bookmaker in a New Jersey-based gambling ring. We're especially fond of the "Toc Tidbits" such as "at least two current NHLers, Brad May and Darren McCarty, admit that Tocchet was their idol while growing up" and "Tocchet's favorite cereal as a child was Frosted Flakes."
Alas, the site had its challenges, too. Tripod forced the site to delete "several megabytes of content" at one point, and the unofficial Rick Tocchet guestbook was overrun by spammers. "These scumbags are so low that they have no regard for the purpose of a guestbook," declared the webmaster who clearly understands the wholesome sanctity of the Internet fan page guestbook.
Seriously, this is why old school Internet fan pages were indispensable. Somewhere in the world, someone who was not a blood relative of Boyd Devereaux actually gave this much of a flying toss about him. And somewhere else in the world, someone really appreciated that they did, and visited every week to participate the Cult of Boyd.
Any fan page that features the editor photographed with her personalized Boyd Devereaux tribute license plate is one hell of a Boyd Devereaux fan page.
For the record, most of our editorial decisions are based on whether the player is "just a little hottie." Hence, the overwhelming nature of our Nathan Gerbe coverage.3. The World Of NHL Tough Guys
You know The World Of NHL Tough Guys isn't false advertising because they have an animated .gif of a fist punching through the page. This site was an early adopter of the kind of 3-D technology James Cameron would eventually apply to "Avatar."
This site was very much the HockeyFights.com of its day, only with much less depth of coverage, no videos, no community interaction and infrequent updates. OK, so it really was nothing like HockeyFights.com; but if you wanted to know the career penalty minutes for Sasha Lakovic in 1998, look no further.
Also, Dean Chynoweth has a lovely signature.4. Jessica's Jaromir Jagr Fan Page
From the spinning Pittsburgh Penguins pucks to the impromptu advertisement for Jaromir Jagr Peanut Butter in the middle of the page, this is one page you really need to Czech Out!
In fact, Czech Out the trade rumors above; they wouldn't dare trade Jags, would they? Even with the emergence of Johan Hedberg in goal?
For the record: Steamy Rumors was the original name for HockeyBuzz. Or so we've been told (e4).5. The Jason Bonsignore Website
As we mentioned with the Boyd Devereaux site, everybody loves somebody.
This person loved Jason Bonsignore. Like, a bunch.
The former Edmonton Oilers and Tampa Bay Lightning center — who is now a motorsports promoter and rider — inexplicably got the fan page treatment, and was so impressed with it he actually corresponded with the fans back in 2005.
Very cool … and years before NHL players were using Twitter to chirp each other and yell at fans that are mean to them.
It almost makes us give a crap about Jason Bonsignore's NHL career. Almost.6. The Maltby Zone
"Submitted for your approval, or at least your analysis: one Kirk Maltby, selected 65th overall in the 1992 National Hockey League Entry Draft by the Oilers of Edmonton. On the 20th of March in 1996, he was shipped out to the City of Motors for Dan McGillis. They used to say he was a scorer; for the next 14 years, he would be a tireless grinder, the smell of octopus and Darren McCarty covering his clothes every night. For this, he earned four Stanley Cup rings. Such is the way of the world when you're skating that close to the edge … of the Maltby Zone."
From this classic site about Marcus Nilson (!?), we learned that his mother Ulla-Britt was a dental assistant. Given her occupation, we're pretending her name translates to "ultra bright." It probably doesn't.
This fan page was packed with information and cool additions like a message board. It also featured a constant struggle between the author and his-or-her complete apathy. ("It's been almost two years since I've even looked at this website.")
One passage stands out: "I need to do a lot of research before this page becomes ancient history (it's almost there). Unfortunately with the lockout, it was announced on November 3, 2004 that the 2004-2005 All-Star game has been cancelled."
The lockout occurred right as blogs were beginning to boom and Facebook began its assault on our lives. We imagine more than a few of these classic pages were abandoned when the 2004-2005 season was cancelled. Which is a shame.
Unless, of course, everyone just migrated to blogs and Facebook and Tumblr. Which are more informative, but lack these pages' goofy charms. And simply don't have any fists punching through the screen. Like, at all.
- Boyd Devereaux
- Rick Tocchet