Football isn’t the only sport honoring it’s All-Stars this weekend. With the help of Hollywood, Boston and Canada, we tell you about a little niche sport from little frozen ponds across the world. Sports Explained: Hockey. It’s money and we didn’t even know it.
In 2014, we introduced our Saturday Sports Explained feature, in which we take an off-beat look at familiar and unfamiliar sports, using humor and pop culture references. In 2014, we brought baseball, football, basketball, soccer, rugby, ultimate Frisbee, golf, lacrosse, bowling, figure skating, and weightlifting under the Sports Explained microscope.
It helped birth nicknames like “The Great One”, “The Russian Rocket” and “Mr. Hockey.” The facial hair of its players makes Brooklyn hipsters look like choirboys. And their teeth, it’s the only sport where infants sometimes have more chompers than grown professionals.
“The Great One” Wayne Gretzky once said, “Ninety percent of hockey is mental and the other half is physical.”
It’s the only sport where fighting is a part of the game. In fact, most teams house an enforcer to protect their star players. Sometimes these “goons” as they are often called can get out of control.
The game is quite simple, 6 players on the ice at a time, per team: three forwards, two defensemen, and one goalie. While the five up front sub in and out of the game freely without halting the ebb and flow of the game, the goalie is on an island, instructed to protect the net at all times. They must have cat like reflexes and amazing flexibility. The great ones show no fear.
The game’s free flowing nature, combined with big hits, amazing athleticism and a hallowed, steep tradition make it the ultimate spectator sport. Arguably, there is no better game to witness live. And with the every evolving world of video games, you can step into your favorite players skates, but buyers beware, all is not fair on the ice, virtual or in reality.
The National Hockey League has teams from both Canada and America, but players come from all over the world. It is this national pride that has some involved in the sport going to great lengths to make their country proud. Although sometimes it doesn’t quite work out the way they hoped.
The great thing about hockey is the toughness displayed on the ice is second to none. When a hockey player goes down, they always get up. It is this symbol of fight that has offered us some of the greatest moments in professional sports, where life and sometimes tragedy transcend the game.
Hockey, fighting for what’s good, when it’s bad and The Hanson Brothers.
Photo Credit: Bridget Samuels/Flickr