Ed. Note: Our series "Five Reasons I Love Hockey" features puckheads from all walks of life revealing five things that either made them a fan or that keepthem watching hockey. We're bringing it back periodically. Have a suggestion for a "Five Reasons" guest blogger Hit us on email. Enjoy!)
A West Coaster, Chelsea Alexander is a diehard San Jose Sharks fan that's also taken on the world of hockey blogging. You can find Chelsea's writing at both The Hockey Writers and Hockey Quarterly tackling not just Sharks news, but general NHL happenings.
Her favorite memory from attending a game was sitting inside HP Pavilion for her first playoff game during the 2006 playoffs. Not only did the Sharks get the victory that night, she topped it off by meeting Joe Thornton's(notes) parents.
Let's get right to it...
Here are Five Reasons Chelsea Alexander Loves Hockey
1. Sounds of the Game
I'm not talking about the edited clips that NBC does, I'm taking about the sound of a tape-to-tape pass, the puck ringing off the back post, a slap shot. Whether I'm watching at home or at the rink I can't get enough of the sounds of the game. I love getting seats as close as I can to the glass so that I can hear the skates gliding on the ice, the D-men yelling to the forwards to set up a play or the puck whipping around the boards. When you watch at home you may catch (if the boards are mic'd well) the occasional "F-bomb" or a good check against the boards, although entertaining, that's pretty much it. Needless to say being there is much better; the atmosphere in the arena is electric. You have a building filled with fans that love this amazing sport just as much as you depending on who's winning its bound to get loud.
2. The Players
What isn't there to say about the men that play this sport? The athleticism, skill, and determination it takes to compete at the professional level is unreal. What these
guys put themselves through night after night is inspiring especially when you see the hits they take. You don't see these guys sitting out a week because of a hangnail or a blister. They play with broken toes, fractured ankles, busted up noses, separated shoulders, pulled groins, fresh gashes in their face, and even do their own dental work on the bench. These men do whatever it takes just for a shot at the cup. It just goes to show you that hockey is the last sport that you can honestly say they play "for love of the game".
Not to mention what they do for their communities and charities. I've seen first hand how these guys open their wallets and volunteer for various events, all just to help people less fortunate. They understand that they can make a difference just by showing up or getting the word out. This leads to #3.
3. Luc Robitaille
Although Luc was a division rival of my Sharks playing for the Kings, I always admired his talent and the class he played with. Ask any current or former player about Luc and they'll tell you he's a character guy that always has a huge smile on his face. Put aside all the awards, the accolades he's received, and you have an amazing guy and entrepreneur. I've only really known Luc the 'entrepreneur' as I've been a volunteer for his charity 'Echoes of Hope' as a life coach for the past year. 'Echoes of Hope' helps the emancipated at-risk youth of LA County. Too see what he and his wife have done to change these kids lives is amazing. They have employed a great staff of caring individuals that help counsel the youth all while providing a family-like network for them to flourish and see their hopes and dreams realized. To find out more on Echoes of Hope please go to echoesofhope.org.
4. PlayingI come from a huge sports loving/playing family but I'm the only hockey fan. Growing up in a football town made playing hockey out of the question. 1) In Northern California where I'm from there are no ice rinks and 2) Not a huge fan base still to this day. The first time I even got to play road hockey was Phys Ed. in Jr. High. I loved it because I knew the game, how to play, and dominated. As I got older the only league available was roller hockey in the next town and was men's only. Now that I live in LA there are more opportunities to play both roller and ice. I enjoy hitting the rink every Friday night to skate with my friends that thankfully are from the East coast and have helped me transition from roller. Just being on the ice for those few hours is bliss. I grew up playing pretty much any sport I could get involved in and hockey is the only one that has tested me more physically and mentally. Sure it has similarities to other sports but there's something to be said about that feeling you get when you jump the boards and play out a shift.
5. People I meet at games and events
The hockey community is small in comparison to that of other major league sports. We as fans have to work harder to see the games and get info on the teams we love; we're a rare breed to say the least. I go to games alone so I meet new fans and fiends every time. It's fun meeting up for drinks before games talking puck with people that understand you. I enjoy hearing people's stories, cheering with them, razzing each other about our respective teams and making new friends. I've garnered myself a pretty good posse between the fans and staffers at Staples Center, which has helped with the chirping I get from LAKings fans when I'm wearing my Sharks jersey. It's all a part of being a fan, through thick and thin, wins and losses.