Joe Yerdon, my buddy who writes a blog for Fox Sports 980, has a nice blog entry about why he loves the game.
To me, hockey is a way of life. I've played the game since I was about 5 years old. I was living in Utah at the time, and to be perfectly honest, I don't remember my first time on the ice, but I know it was with my dad at the Bountiful Ice Garden, one of two ice arenas in that state at the time. We went again and again, and every time I was loving it. I never had a skating coach back then; my skating coach was my dad. I never had one of those little metal things to lean on; I had to lean on the boards or not lean at all.
I grew up cheering for the North Stars. When they relocated in 1993 thanks to Norm Greed, I quickly took up love for one player in the NHL: Pavel Bure. I had followed him since his rookie season, amazed by his speed and skill. I was never a Vancouver Canucks fan, or a Panthers fan, or even a Rangers fan, but always a fan of Bure.
My true love of hockey though will always come back to the Fighting Sioux. Growing up in the Twin Cities, everyone around me loved the Gophers. Not me. I went to one Gopher game against Maine in 1997, when they had a player named Ek on their roster. I cheered for Maine. They lost that game 7-3. My dad, a Gopher alum, was convinced he could get me to be a Gopher fan. Not going to happen. Even playing two games in a spring league at the Mooch couldn't convince me.
I started following the Sioux in 1998. The previous summer, I worked with some Gopher players and Sioux players in various clinics and weightlifting sessions. Brad Defauw was almost a mentor to me that summer.
I have watched the Sioux win a National Championship and come up short in two of them. I have seen them lose in the playoffs and have that be their seasons end. I have watched them lose heartbreaking games and seen them break hearts. Every single year I could provide you with a memory of a specific game.
My point here is, Joe caused me to think this morning. Why do we watch hockey? What is it about the game that we love so much? Is it the hope that our team will be the best? Or is it that we admire the hell out of the athletes out there on the ice. There's a lot of reasons why people love the game so much, and I know for me, I have multiple reasons. Think about yours.