September 27, 2009
(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!)
Ritch Duncan is a comedian and blogger whose new book, "The Werewolf's Guide To Life: A Manual For The Newly Bitten" was released this month from Broadway Books. It's a guide that offers "indispensable advice on how to tell if you're really a werewolf, post-attack etiquette, breaking the news to your spouse, avoiding government abduction, and how to not just survive, but thrive." (Please tell us David Naughton blurbed the book.)
He also writes for truTV, and is the creator of AmericanHockeyFan.com (PG-13 language), which has been
in mourning on hiatus since the Pittsburgh Penguins won the Stanley Cup. It's a hockey blog we've frequently enjoyed, such as his post on opening up a pack of 1990 Topps hockey cards and experiencing the horror of stale gum. Ritch really, really loves hockey. Here are five reasons why:
1. The NHL's Marketing Department
Yes, the NHL's marketing sucks. I am aware of this. But upon contemplating how hard it has sucked, and for how many years it has sucked, it's time to consider the possibility that the level of incompetence they have displayed might be reaching something close to fine art. For example, last year (and this isn't even in the top 20 of bad examples) a version of the following conversation actually took place in an NHL marketing meeting:
"Who can we get to perform at the NHL awards this year?"
"How about Chaka Khan?"
"Hmm- you mean a woman who has nothing to do with hockey, and no one has even thought about for 25 years? "
"Yes, that's her."
"How much does she weigh now?"
"Perfect, let's do it."
There is something beautiful about that.
2. The Hate
Hockey is better with a little bit of hate. It just is. For example, as a Boston Bruins fan, I hate the Montreal Canadiens. If I see someone rooting for the Canadiens, or wearing their gear, they immediately have a strike against them. Of course, in an odd way, by saying this, I am actually confessing to a bizarre love of the Montreal Canadiens, because without them, the intense rivalry that makes the game better would be lost as well. While I am aware that there is a bit of a contradiction there, let no one misunderstand me: No matter how I feel about the glory and history of the rivalry, it remains my sincere hope that when Carey Price(notes) gets into his car tonight, he sits on his nuts.
3. The Truth
It is a losing proposition to attempt to logically explain to a fan of baseball, basketball or football that the sport they love is simply inferior to the game of ice hockey. This is a shame, because the games of baseball, basketball and football are simply inferior to the game of ice hockey. If they don't understand, they won't understand. Don't dwell on it. Search your feelings. You know this to be true.
As an American hockey fan, it's easy to hate on fans of Canadian hockey teams. In fact, where I come from, it's somewhat of a right of passage. Still, all things considered, it is hard to not respect the sheer passion with which Canada loves their game. And it is their game. And I love them for sharing it with us.
5. Don Cherry
I have a cat named Grapes. He is an [expletive] to just about everybody, and most people who come to my house leave with the distinct idea that I must have raised him wrong. As such, he was named perfectly, because I love him as much as his namesake, who inspires similar emotions. When I was on my honeymoon, my beach read was a book entitled "Don Cherry's Hockey Stories and Stuff," which is the best bald-faced acknowledgement of what you are about to experience since the movie "Snakes on a Plane." I read it cover to cover, and you know what I got?
And they were damn good stories.
Ritch Duncan is a comedian and blogger whose new book, "The Werewolf's Guide To Life: A Manual For The Newly Bitten" is available now.