Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Hockey in Hoosierland

I admit it, I’m a little strange. I like to go against the grain sometimes and not always conform to the norm. I’m a man working in a department full of women. I work at a State Fair, but have rarely been on a farm. I am an IU grad who used to live in Lexington, KY (home of UK). And now, I’ve turned into a huge hockey fan smack-dab in the heart of hoops country.

Hockey is such a fantastic sport that it’s hard to even explain, and I’m not sure why more Hoosiers haven’t caught on. Don’t get me wrong, I love basketball, too, (college more than NBA), but hockey has a faster pace and the athleticism is just amazing!

In basketball, five guys work together to put an object in a goal. In hockey, five guys work together to put an object in a goal WHILE ON SKATES as the opponent tries to shove you down and slam you into the boards with the help of a long, hard stick… and it’s perfectly legal!

Maybe that’s what keeps more Hoosiers from following hockey, the “violent” component to the game. But then again, didn’t we all love seeing Danica Patrick stomp down pit road ready to duke it out with Dan Wheldon a couple years back?

In fact, after seven years of coaching my son’s hockey teams at the Pepsi Coliseum, I can tell you that hockey is much safer as a rule than many other youth sports. I can only remember one incident in all those practices and games where medical attention was needed.

Why extol the virtues of hockey? Because it IS a great sport – both for spectators and participants – and I want to challenge you to check it out. Take in an Indiana Ice game sometime soon. You might be surprised with how much fun it is. If you have kids, take them out skating. You might even want to bring them to one of our “Friday Night Hat Trick” events where equipment and coaching are provided.

So the next time you’re frustrated watching the Pacers/Hoosiers/Boilers clang another free throw off the rim, do yourself a favor and check out a hockey game. And if you actually get out onto the ice, try not to get checked into the boards. It can leave a mark.

Submitted by Andy Klotz

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