I still think that minor hockey remains vastly more entertaining than the NHL. Not only is it free (at least to sit in the stands), but as I mentioned in early posts – here and here – it’s just plain awesome.
So, let us see why…
- No fan gets called out of the stands to help one of the NHL players go pee. I think the players all know they have to go before they get dressed, but this is still something of a common occurrence in minor hockey.
We can go into the locker rooms. Imagine if the fans could all go into the Canuck’s locker room. What would we learn? (And I don’t mean what they look like naked.) Being a part of the locker room banter is fun. Watching kids try to tie their skates for the first time is fun. Listening to them talk to their parents about how many goals they’re going to score or how many faceoffs they’ll win or how hard they’ll play. Would the professionals do the same? The problem is, we’ll never know.
There’s still that one player on any team you’ll cheer for. You know that kid. Awkward. Can barely skate. Stick-handles like he’s drunk way too much the night before. But the kid’s trying his hardest. When he falls down, he gets up as fast as he can. When he’s beat, he skates his little heart out trying to catch up. Now, can you imagine rooting for the lamest Canuck? Would it matter how hard he tried?
- In minor hockey, breakaways, even at the Atom level, are a pretty regular occurrence. Kind of terrifying for us goalie-parents, but entertaining for pretty much everyone else in the bleachers. In my opinion, they should have a breakaway rule in the NHL, where if one player gets to center ice, the others have to skate to the bench. I’ve seen it happen so many times in minor hockey, and it’s hilarious. The NHL needs to be more hilarious.
- One kid tried to head the puck into the net. No way you see this in the NHL. First of all the puck is usually going the speed of light and if it actually hits someone in the head, it’s not good news. Lastly, no one thinks of it. Hey, they’re not soccer players, but most of the minor hockey players are. This is something they think is a viable action while scrambling around a net and the puck just kind of flutters nearby.
Players will cry in minor hockey when something bad happens. It’s not that I feed off the tears of children, it’s that this shows passion. This shows emotion. This shows they really, really care. They’re not collecting a million dollars a game, win or lose, they’re invested simply because they’re playing.
- Your mom and/or dad can volunteer to do stuff. Maybe that’s what the Canucks need. Make it more of a family affair. What if Burrows’ dad was the coach? What if Miller’s mom managed the team? What if someone’s step-dad was the treasurer (though he’d have to be an idiot to volunteer for that one.) But having families a part of the whole hockey experience makes it just that much better.
- It still matters if I show up. Not to some bottom line. Not so some player can earn an extra million on his contract. We show up cuz one little boy needs to know he’s always got someone rooting for him.