The beautiful game of the NHL


What’s not to love about the National Hockey League? The league was established back in 1917, making it one of the oldest major sports leagues in the world. The rich history filled with great players makes the NHL one of the best leagues in the world and one that I follow the most. The new season is only about a week old, but I am already excited to see what it has in store.

The first time I heard about hockey was when I moved to Canada in 2007. At the time I was an avid basketball fan, and the sport of hockey did not spark much interest in me. The rules seemed so complicated, and it looked as though the players were just going around chasing other people and the puck. Going to school really changed that for me. Everyone loves hockey in Canada, and my school was no different. Many of the teachers hung hockey posters up, and the kids loved talking about hockey. As time went on, I started to gain interest in the sport and watched it occasionally. I really got into it when I went into third grade and even managed to get my dad, a die-hard basketball fan, involved.

In my opinion, the best part about hockey is the breathtaking saves that the goaltenders can make. Although everyone loves to see goals, I would just as contently watch a 0-0 game if it is fast-paced with lots of scoring chances. In hockey it is very tough to play defensively and win. If a team decides to sit back and wait for an onslaught of attacks, one of the shots will eventually go in. It makes the game fun to watch as both teams are going from one end to the other, trying to beat the goalie. This sort of play differs from most other major sports. You could argue that basketball can have the same end-to-end action, but it is not as fast and thus not quite as intoxicating. Football and baseball are meant to be slow-paced, and golf is just another level of slow. Hockey’s style of play is a stark contrast from most other sports and makes it unique.

My favorite team from the beginning has been the Detroit Red Wings. They played in and won the 2008 Stanley Cup Finals which was the first playoff series I followed. I really enjoyed watching them play and admired the players and the coach. The Red Wings’ style of play is fast-paced and entertaining. In recent years they have faltered a bit, but with a solid young crop of players ready to take the next step, I am eager to see what the future holds.

Pavel Datsyuk is one of the biggest reasons I got into the NHL. There is always one player that you particularly admire, and Datsyuk is that player for me. He is a magician with the puck and can do anything you can possibly imagine. You are hypnotized by the dazzling array of moves that he has up his sleeves. He is truly a player that will get you up from your seat in awe of what just happened.

While most people in Texas enjoy watching boring games of football and baseball, I will be satisfied watching the exciting, heart-pounding action that occurs in the NHL.