Why Hockey Needs to Be More Recognized in the South
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With the NHL playoffs starting, it seems only fitting to discuss the popularity of ice hockey in the southern United States.
It is a well-known fact that ice hockey is not the national sport of the U.S. In fact, it’s not even top three. Following behind football, baseball, and basketball, ice hockey currently ranks fourth in top sports in the U.S. What’s rough is a lot of people in the southern United States don’t recognize its value.
Atlanta has had two hockey teams in history. The Atlanta Flames became the Calgary Flames in 1980 after an eight-year run, and the Atlanta Thrashers recently left the city to become the former Winnipeg Jets in 2007.
But what’s hard to understand is why. Hockey is a sport that involves so many elements. It’s fast-paced, aggressive, and even involves fighting for those who like action.
So here is a concise list of why hockey is a sport that needs to be more recognized in the south.
- It Requires Many Skills
The thing that makes hockey so different from other sports is the skills required to play the game. Hockey players have to be able to ice skate, stick handle, and check in a fast paced environment.
- Team Spirit
Anyone who watches hockey can tell you how spirited the teams are. Each player has a huge effect on the team morale and how a game plays out. I always like to say that in hockey, anything can happen in the playoffs. You can’t rule any team out because spirit and momentum make a huge difference.
- The Grit
Hockey is a tough sport. Players have gotten hit with pucks in the face, checked against the boards and on the ice, or punched after fighting. However, they are warriors. Some of the players have been known to pull their teeth out themselves on the bench after getting a puck in the mouth. They get stitches after a high stick and they come right back out into the game.
- Role Models
The good things about many of the hockey players are their contributions to their respective communities. Many of the teams visit children’s hospitals around the year to spend time with the kids that are ill. In addition, many have their own foundations that donate money to various causes including famous players such as Sidney Crosby, Wayne Gretzky, and Mario Lemieux.
- The Stanley Cup
One of the coolest things about hockey is the Stanley Cup. In the NHL, each teams’ goal at the beginning of every season is to win the Cup, and with good reason. Every single team member that wins the cup gets their name carved into the trophy, and it stays that way forever.
So what do you think Mustangs, will you give hockey a try?