(Ed. Note: Our series "5 Reasons I Love Hockey" features puckheads from all walks of life revealing five things that either made them a fan or that keep them watching hockey. It will run every weekend. Have a suggestion for a "5 Reasons" guest blogger? Hit us on email. Enjoy!)
You could call Jeff Marek "Mr. Hockey Night in Canada". Not only does he work the iDesk every Saturday night on CBC with Scott Morrison, as well as occasionally doing some in-arena reporting, he's also the host of HNiC radio show weekdays 4-7 p.m. ET on Sirius Satellite Radio and has his own blog on CBC's website.
Marek is a huge MMA and wrestling fan, two topics he'll engage you in on Twitter at anytime. But this is about hockey and Marek is a puck historian, which explains No. 4 on his list.
Here are five reasons why Jeff Marek of CBC's Hockey Night in Canada loves hockey.
1. Hockey Night in Canada
Yes, my job.
Both the TV and radio shows.
Like many of us, I grew up on a steady diet of HNiC. Saturday nights were sacred in my household as I'm sure it was in yours as well. It took me all of two seconds to accept a position here and I'll always remember my first HNiC moment. It was December 29th, 2007, when I was rinkside for the Caps/Sens game at Scotiabank Place and Ron MacLean threw down to me for an interview with Alex Ovechkin(notes). And yes, I had that "Am I really on Hockey Night in Canada?" pause before thanking Ron and stammering through a couple of questions with Alex.
That same night Ovechkin scored four goals against the Sens and during my post-game wrap-up, as he was leaving the rink, OV quietly came up behind me and started pulling on the jacket of my suit and poking my back and head as I tried to talk over his highlights. I had no idea who was doing it, figuring it was someone from the crew playing a "welcome-to-the-show, newbie" prank. Until I went back to the truck and saw this....
As far as the HNiC Radio show goes, it's one of the great loves of my life. As much as we all associate NHL with TV, I grew up with a healthy dose of puck on the radio. You see, as a kid, Saturday nights I could stay up and watch all three periods of HNiC, but during the week I was only allowed to watch the first two periods of Leafs and Sabres games (I miss Ted Darling), then it was time for bed. Moms orders. My dad though, would always sneak a radio into my room and put it under my pillow so I could listen to the concluding period. "Shhhhh ... don't tell your mother." I never did, but I think she always kinda' knew.
For me the finest year for hockey. Ever. From Rendez-Vous '87, which replaced the All Star game to the Easter Epic with Kelly Hrudey's 73 save performance against the Bob Mason and the Washington Capitals (where were you?); the Oilers/Flyers thrilling and, let's not forget, violent seven game Stanley Cup final to the greatest hockey tournament ever played the 1987 Canada Cup. 1987 had it all for me. Plus, my buddy I played York Toros hockey with growing up, Keith Osborne, was drafted by the St. Louis Blues in the first round. That was pretty cool. 1987 is going to be a tough one to top for me.
What do I do every night? Fire up the Centre Ice package or Game Center Live and the OHL Action Pack and talk (and/or argue) the finer and not-so-finer points of hockey on Twitter. (Ed. note: You can find Jeff on Twitter at @jeffmarek)
The Society for International Hockey Research. We are the geekiest collection of hockey geeks who ever geeked. I'm a proud member. So is Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper who is writing a book on hockey history in Toronto.
5. "Slap Shot"
The lines in this movie are like a secret handshake amongst hockey folks ("I know a bar here"). Every day I come to work at CBC all I'm trying to do is capture the spirit of the thing, Reg.