Evolution Of A Hockey Fan
While I have always had an appreciation for the game of hockey, there were aspects of the game that were unfamiliar to me. Being raised on the west coast meant that while I was busy tossing a football during the winter months, kids my age in the colder climates were playing hockey. Hockey remains a huge part of life for much of the youth world-wide. We didn't get to see much hockey either living in California. Thus, my exposure to the game was limited to say the least. Like many others, I felt it difficult to watch on television. Partly because, and I hear this all the time, "the puck is too small and it's hard to follow." Then there was the fact that I didn't know the rules. Bottom line, I didn't know much about the game of hockey and that lack of understanding left me, oddly enough, out in the cold as a hockey fan.
That all changed one summer day many years ago, when I decided that I needed to know more about the great game of hockey. So I went out and purchased the "Official Rules & Regulations Of The National Hockey League." I laid by the confluence at the Auburn Ravine and spent the day reading... and burning... I'm Irish. By the time the blisters from the sunburn faded, it was NHL season! Suddenly I knew what was going on. I understood the difference between a major and minor penalty. I knew what "icing" was, what the neutral zone was, etc. I know that sounds crazy, but to repeat myself, I didn't grow up on the game so I wasn't aware of even the most simple rules and nuances of the game. My enhanced knowledge of the rules and regulations elevated my interest in the sport. Somewhere along the line the puck seemed much easier to follow. Once I realized it was more important to follow the flow of the action, the puck became much more noticeable. My homework on the game translated into more time-spent-watching. Time -spent-watching translated into a new love and passion for the exciting sport of hockey. I have now attended numerous games, both NHL and ECHL and that too has enhanced the experience for me. I highly recommend attending a live game.
All in all, I can honestly say that I now watch more NHL than NBA, both regular season and playoffs. My appreciation for the game is much greater and I have watched every game in the playoffs and finals. I eagerly anticipate tonight's game seven showdown (I am writing this on Wednesday, June 15) between the Boston Bruins and Vancouver Cannucks.
So I guess what I am saying is, if you have an interest in the game but are frustrated, do yourself a favor and learn it intimately. It will pay huge dividends.