Living in the "State of Hockey" (Minnesota), one would assume that all of us are born with a passion for the exciting game of hockey. However, I somehow missed that boat. I have just recently become acquainted with this action-packed sport and I have learned a few things as a new hockey fan.
1. Fighting is frequent, but also highly debated.
One of the key aspects that people think of when hockey comes to mind, is the fighting. However, there is a heated debate over whether or not fights should be allowed. Supports of the "fighting-ban" say that these violent actions are not family-friendly, can cause serious and long-lasting injuries to players, lowers attendance, and distracts from the quality of the sport.
Fans who would prefer fighting to be allowed say that players need to able to defend their teammates, that the amount of fighting has actually gone down, it is unique to the sport, and that if it wasn't there that illegal hits and other penalties would be even worse. No matter what side you are on, it is certain that you will probably hear and see something about fighting.
2. The grosser your hair, the more respect/swag you have.
Hockey hair. AKA the mullet party. AKA really long and gross hair that hockey players seem to enjoy wearing. In recent years, this trend of "Who Has The Best Hockey Hair" has taken to YouTube with the start of the "All Hockey Hair Team" videos, featuring the best and most glorious hockey hair styles shown in the Minnesota State Hockey Tournament. Check out the videos, you will not be disappointed.
3. Hockey hugs are totally acceptable.
While some may see physical affection between males as taboo, hockey hugs are one of the key moments in this sport. After each goal scored or game won, you will see the players hug it out on the ice in celebration. It's a special moment to see and it reminds us that sometimes you just need to hug it out.
4. Having no teeth is actually an attractive quality.
Okay, maybe not conventionally attractive, but missing teeth is a sign of a player's passion and aggressive playing. This is something I have needed to get used to, as I am usually turned off by people missing their teeth. But I have learned that this is just a part of the game. However, I would suggest that they maybe get some better mouth guards, or wear bigger face masks.
5. Hockey is for all people
The NHL is currently running a month-long campaign this February, called "Hockey is for Everyone." The campaign's goal is to promote an inclusive environment for people no matter what "race, color, religion, national origin, gender, disability, sexual orientation and socio-economic status."
Some of the highlights of the campaign so far have been a feature on the growth of female hockey opportunities, a same-sex couple kiss on the "kiss cam," and Fatima Al Ali, of the female United Arab Team, dropping the puck at the Capitals vs. Detroit Red Wings game. These are all small steps towards an inclusive society, and they certainly add up.
6. Miracle is the ultimate hockey movie.
There are many, many hockey movies out there (although some would say not enough in comparison to football or other sports films). But the one that stands out above all the rest is the glorious story of the 1980 USA Men's Hockey team winning first place at the Lake Placid Olympic games, "Miracle On Ice."
It is also wildly known that Herb Brook's locker room speech is one of the most motivating sport's speeches you will ever hear. You must watch this movie if you even want to be considered a hockey fan.
7. The fans are very dedicated.
I think the GIF's explain this one enough.
8. Hockey players are real gentleman.
Although the game may be rough, hockey players are gentleman off of the ice. For just one example, check out this video ft. Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals taking out one of his biggest fans, 10-year old Ann, on a sushi date.
BONUS: The Minnesota Wild are the best team. End of story.
Residing in THE STATE OF HOCKEY, the Minnesota Wild have everything going for them. A well-rounded, talented team, a successful coach (Bruce Boudreau), a sweet logo that somehow embodies everything that is great about this state, AND amazing fans make this team the best team in the NHL. I may be biased, but let's be honest here, they are ranked #1 in the Western Conference, #2 in the entire NHL, and are expected to continue their successful season.