August 17, 2009
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 weekday through August. Enjoy.
If the name Kevin Schultz doesn't light the lamp for you, his blog Barry Melrose Rocks hopefully better; it's been one of the better hockey humor sites on the Web for years, from its "Honoring NHL 94 Survivors" tribute to its handy guides to The Barry Melrose Coach-o-Meter 3000.
Schultz, who also blogs for AOL Sports' NHL FanHouse, was kind enough to share his particular brand of whimsy for our summer project. Here's Kevin:
"Asking me to discuss my love for the great game of hockey in five bullet points would be like asking ESPN to air five minutes of hockey coverage -- it's just not possible.
"But I'm sure that between the other guest posters and myself, we will put a pretty solid dent in the task. Or at the very least kill some time during the slowest month of the year for hockey. The following are five reasons why I'm a hockey fan."
5. The New York Rangers.
This may sound a little odd coming from an New York Islanders fan. But, I hate to say it, I'm thankful for the New York Rangers.
The last 15 years have been miserable here on Long Island. I mean, beyond bad. We're making the Clippers look like a successful franchise. But if I ever need cheering up, I can just look to the folks that pack the Garden for sympathy. It's been 15 years since the Rangers... Umm... Uhh -- I don't like to mention it specifically but you know what I'm thinking of -- did the thing with the Keenan and the Messier crying and since then, man, have they been horrible too.
So while we're horrible and they're horrible we can laugh at each other and have a good time. I mean, I thought that choke job against Washington was going to be the highlight of my summer and then we actually drafted John Tavares(notes).
4. Hockey Gives Life a Purpose During the Winter.
I don't know about you, but I spent 18 winters in freezing cold and generally snowless Long Island and it was miserable. Then I spent four winters in South Carolina and wondered why anyone lives north of DC. But anyway, when it's a Wednesday night in February and it's below freezing and snowless for the millionth day in a row, there's nothing like watching or playing hockey to cheer a person up. I mean for [expletive's] sake, what the heck did people do from October through April before hockey?
3. Because Stuff Like This Doesn't Happen in Any Other Sport.
In which other sport is there an intermittent break in the action so that players can legally beat the hell out of each other? That's right there isn't another sport like that. Oh and it's also awesome that the best goaltender in the history of the game may be remembered more for beating up people than, you know, playing net.
2. The Moments.
You know what I mean. The moments that are forever etched into our memories and, decades later, can still make a chill run down your spine. They're the moments like Bobby Orr's that are captured in a classic picture. Or the ones which are the reason why Bobby Nystrom and Mark Messier will never have to pay for a drink in New York as long as they live. They turn stars into legends and are the reason you sit through years of games -- for that one moment.
Zambonis are the best part of hockey. Go ahead, ask a five year old if they like the Zamboni. They probably do, even if it's only because ice girls shoot T-shirt cannons off of them and they're convinced they'll catch a T-shirt. Now ask them if they would like to drive or ride a Zamboni. All of them do. I can guarantee you of this.
That's because when I was five I didn't even like hockey (and I, for no reason, represent all five year olds ever) and yet was transfixed by the Zamboni. I would bother my Dad all night when the game was going on with questions like "is the period almost over?" and "is it time for the Zamboni to come out yet?" because I loved watching the Zambonis.
Eventually, I grew to like what was going on between Zamboni runs.
And thus, here I am today: blogging about hockey on the Internet and telling you this story because the Zam first caught my eye. It's all come full circle.