It’s March 17, but you knew that the moment you dove into a pile of clothes in your closet to find that one green thing you own or you attempted to enter your local bar only to find it overrun with people who don’t know what a properly poured Guinness looks like. (Wait for it to settle, people.)
Yes, it’s St. Patrick’s Day, a holiday that’s embraced by the NHL through the selling ‘o the green in its team stores. But St. Paddy’s doesn’t just make hockey better as a catalyst for specialty gear; oh, no, the holiday takes hold of our hockey hearts like a giant 24-hour Claddagh.
Here are 10 ways St. Patrick’s Day makes hockey better.
10. Honoring Patricks
What better day to Photoshop Patrick Kane and Patrick Sharp into a stereotypical Irish gear? What better day to consider the virtues of St. Patrick himself, Patrick Roy, and the Jack Adams he’ll win. (Jack Adams? Probably Irish.) Patrick Marleau, Patrick Flatley, James Patrick, Craig Patrick, Patrick Burke, the Patrick Division, the Pat Trick (a goal, a fight and a postgame shower beer) … all of hockey’s Patricks. Raise a glass in their honor.
9. Green Ice
Although not as popular as the pink ice for Breast Cancer Awareness, some teams decide to go green for St. Patrick’s Day, like the Gwinnett Gladiators of the ECHL a few years ago and the Toledo Walleye last weekend.
The bad: Trying to locate a small black rubber disc on colored ice.
The good: If you lick it, it tastes like lime-aid.
8. The Irishization Of Player Names
Not everyone’s favorite, but there’s something stupid-kitschy enough about “Alex O’vechkin” and “James “O’van Riemsdyk” that we’ll accept it.
(Although pity the Shane O’Briens of the world. Not because they wear this gimmick all year, but because they’ll never get their own players T-shirts.)
Oh, and bonus points if you're actual name is an Irish version of a current player's. We're looking at you Patrick O'Kane.
Hockey’s life’s blood. We salute those brave teams and bars that simply serve good Irish beer without succumbing to the scourge of green beer. (Especially since the mold inside the keg lines is green enough. Oh, c’mon, like we’re the only ones that watch “Bar Rescue.”)
6. St. Patrick’s Day Jerseys
Like Christmas, St. Patrick’s Day offers teams chances to create monstrously lovely jerseys they can sell off for charity. Some of them feature leprechauns and shamrocks …
And others feature beer bubbles and the colors of the flag ...
Even the best logo in hockey looks pretty good in green.
5. The Luck Of The Irish Vs. Advanced Stats
*pushes up glasses* “Uh, the ‘luck of the Irish’ as it’s known can in fact be quantified by PDO, a metric that is a combination of save percentage plus shooting percentage, that tends to regress to the mean of 1000 for teams over the course of the season. So enjoy your luck of the Irish, but know that a PDO substantially higher than 1000 is unsustainable and will likely indicate a team that’s destined for a playoff failure, if it makes the playoffs at all. Also, for one day, we’ll rename this stat ‘O’PD.’”
4. Your Whalers Gear Can Come Out Of Moth Balls
We can be Sylvain Turgeon, just for one day …
3. A Prayer For Owen Nolan
Raise a glass for Owen Nolan, the NHL’s most famous Ireland-born player and the only player to both call his own shot in the All-Star Game and host his own fishing show.
2. Don Cherry Gets Blarney
This truly is the pot ‘o gold at the end of the rainbow. The rainbow being what Grapes usually wears …
1. Finally, A Day On Which Fighting Is Not Only Appropriate But Encouraged
It’s basically a show of affection.