But the truth is, growing up in California, we knew nothing about hockey. ~ Leigh Steinberg
When it comes to sports, I can hold my own in just about any conversation or situation. Wanna talk football? I can do that. Need a pal with whom to watch a baseball game? Call me! Have the urge to chat hoops? Let’s do it. Tennis, golf, the Olympics – dig ‘em all.
But then there’s hockey. About which I have nothing remotely intelligent to say. Not because I don’t like the game – but because, honestly, it’s really rather foreign to me.
The truth is, growing up in Florida – we knew nothing about hockey, either. It wasn’t played here, professionally or casually. The only ice rinks around were in shopping malls. I myself have never been ice skating – heck, I didn’t see snow for the first time until I was… well, let’s just say I was barely able to legally run for president of the United States when I threw my first legitimate snowball.
Hockey just wasn’t a factor on our sports scene.
Here’s what I do know about the game (please save your laughter until after reading).
The players have sticks. There’s a puck. They wear skates. The action is fast. There are goals made. The coaches wear dapper suits and stand behind the players on the bench. There are frequent fights. There’s a time out box – but I don’t think it’s called that officially. Wayne Gretzky is called The Great One. Hockey uniforms are basically shorts. The game is played on ice. Oh – and frequently players will climb over the little wall between the bench and the ice to get into the action.
There’s the sum total of my hockey knowledge. So sad. I’m embarrassed for myself. What I don’t know about hockey could fill the St Pete Times Forum.
But that’s about to change.
With the advent of the Tampa Bay Lightning’s 2010-2011 season, I’m making it my mission to learn about hockey. Armed with a highlighter, a copy of Hockey for Dummies, and a plethora of helpful hockey-loving friends, including my esteemed SB Nation Tampa Bay colleague Clark Brooks, I’m ready to get about the business of Getting To Know Hockey.
I’m excited about this little adventure. Besides helping me to fill the void that will be left when the Rays season is finally over *cough - in November - cough*, I think hockey is a game that, once I know what the heck is going on, I’ll really enjoy. My pals that are fans are passionate about the sport – and that in itself is appealing.
So here goes -- Janey's Hockey Education. First on the to-do list: confirm the rumor that icing isn’t just what one puts on a cake.
See you on the ice! Go Lightning!