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Thursday, Apr 18, 2024
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Opinion: Southerners Should Appreciate Hockey More

When people think of hockey, they think of chasing a thick, black disk down a sheet of ice where people hit each other. In the South, where I have grown up and spent all 20 years of my life, hockey is hardly enjoyed, if not unrecognized.

The reasonings people have for not liking the sport range from, "It just is not cold enough down here!" to "It's way too physical!" to “The majority of these players aren't even American!"

While I can understand why a lot of people don’t like hockey, I beg to differ.

In fact, I was a disbeliever for the first half of my life. I went to a hockey game when I was eight and hated it. It was too cold, too physical and I just didn’t think it was fun. Then a couple years later, I began to take notice of hockey, and I fell in love with the high-speed, high-intensity game.

Unfortunately, the team I was rooting for was the Atlanta Thrashers of the National Hockey League (NHL). That team moved to Canada just as quickly as I became a fan of the game.

One thing I have noticed from watching and following hockey is that markets such as Georgia, Florida and the Carolinas get struck down for being inferior to the hockey markets up north. I believe that there are many reasons those who don't know or don’t like the game should give it another look.

First, as I said before, it is a high-speed, high-intensity game. The fast-skating from players and trying to follow the puck makes a viewer anticipate a goal. When said goal is scored, there is a rush from the crowd as everyone gets up and cheers.

Even when a goal is stopped by the goalie, the excitement of "Oooh, so close!" is a fulfilling one.

And for those who state the game is too physical, you have seen football right?

As for the claim that hockey should be passed over because the game is not an American tradition is nonsense! Think of it this way.

We live in a world where diversity of cultures is embraced. Hockey is a major part of another culture, and while that culture may be similar to ours in more ways than one, it is still very interesting to experience what is highly enjoyed in many parts of the world.

In fact, the city of Macon is doing its part in getting people exposed to the game. The Macon Mayhem won the league championship two years ago, and are still one of the most exciting teams in the South. While it's no NHL, it's still fast, exciting and very interesting to watch!

So my challenge to those who don't consider themselves a hockey fan down here, go to a game! And if you have been once and hated it, try it again! You may find something interesting that you didn’t before.

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