Hockey: the coolest game on ice

column by isabelleswanson

As soon as sweater weather rolls around, millions of fans throw on their hockey sweaters (jerseys) and cheer on their favorite teams. There’s nothing better than snuggling up with some hot chocolate and watching two teams fight over a rubber disk with blades strapped to their feet. If you are in desperate need for a new hobby, checking out a few hockey games may be the coolest (pun intended) thing to try!

Map for Hockey teams-2.png

graphic by isabelleswanson

If the notoriously rough-and-tumble action of a hockey game isn’t enough for you to drop everything and turn on the NHL (National Hockey League) Channel or don a hockey jersey and drive to your local hockey arena, the narratives that develop around the players might be. One of my favorite players, Adam McQuaid of the NHL’s Boston Bruins, is now earning a seven-figure salary playing a sport his parents made him try when he was 5 years old because they were worried he was too shy. If stories about little kids growing up and reaching their lifelong dreams like that doesn’t melt your heart, I can’t really help you with that.

A fun little bonus of following a hockey team is accidentally learning a ton about Eastern Europe and Canada. Hockey players come from dozens of countries, so you inevitably learn a lot about the world. Impress (or scare) your friends when you can name a few too many Slovakian hockey players while watching Olympic hockey. Or in casual conversation. The possibilities are really endless. Being able to pronounce Finnish names is something you learn while watching hockey, and also probably something you can put on college applications.

The price of hockey tickets can range from a few Frappuccinos at Starbucks to skipping a few car payments, depending on the league and whether the game is during pre-season, regular season or the championship of that league. You can grab a few friends and road trip to Chicago to see the Blackhawks take the ice, or you can see the University of Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks play right here at home! In 2015, the Mavericks made it to the Frozen Four, the NCAA championship semifinals.

the-puck-is-2Hockey games are a lot of fun to watch live with friends, and at the very least, they are a great excuse to eat popcorn and yell a lot. The rules can be a little confusing at times, and the 226-page NHL rule book is a little overwhelming, but my best tip is to just yell, “Aw, come on!” every time the whistle is blown.

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