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Hockey: A hidden sports gem

Abigail McNeece

Ever crave a sport that's lightning fast, action-packed, and full of dramatic swings? Look no further than hockey! This often-overlooked gem is a feast for the eyes, with:

The speed, grace, power, and athleticism that can be observed at every hockey game qualifies this sport as a true gem that too often escapes the consciousness of too many sports fans. Within the game, there are many things that draw you in and keep you watching for years to come.   

Hockey is unique but shares similarities with other sports such as baseball. For instance, a pitch in a major league baseball game can reach 100 miles per hour, or just under 161 kilometers per hour, whereas a slap shot in the National Hockey League (NHL) can reach 108.8 mph (approximately 175.1 km/h). 

Where the drama of hockey is more intense than that in baseball, comes from the fact that a slap shot in hockey is made on ice filled with athletes flying into position to make the play on the puck. In addition, there are many checks, or hits, throughout games. For instance, there can be upwards of 50 hits per game per team. Imagine sitting in the front row, watching as two players crash into the boards like wrecking balls as they try and get the puck.

 It may sound like there are a lot of hits in hockey, but it’s much less than a sport like American football, where hits are a main factor in the game and 50 hits can be achieved in just a few plays.   

Unlike American football, however, hockey is much faster. Players can easily reach the speed of a car in rush hour when skating. It’s exhilarating to watch the players, especially in person, achieve such high speeds as they attempt to score a goal or are coming back to their own net to help defend.  The game is also very back and forth. It’s like the way that a table tennis match is constantly back and forth. One moment, one team can have the puck.

The next, the other team can have the puck in the back of the net.​Outside of the game, there’s always amazing fan interactions. From hockey players throwing pucks to kids during the warm-ups of a game to giving away their stick to a fan who deserves it. It makes the game even more enjoyable as it shows that hockey players are humans and compassionate people who aim to expand the game so that millions around the world can enjoy it.  

There’s also the prestige associated with the Stanley Cup. The Stanley Cup is the trophy awarded to the best team in the NHL who beats all other teams. It’s the oldest trophy in North American sports, so there is a great honor in having won it.  There are so many great things about hockey, from the great fan interactions to the Stanley Cup and more.

Next time you see a hockey game on television, instead of skipping over it, try watching it. You never know, you might find your next favorite thing!   

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