For a true ice hockey fan, there’s nothing worse in life than meeting people who do not understand your love for the sport. Or worse still, that you’re just going a bit overboard with it. Conversely though, there’s nothing that makes us feel as warm and happy inside, than meeting someone who not only understands our passion, but also shares it along with us. The kind of guy or girl other people would find hard to tear you away from. You instantly feel like you’ve known each other for much, much longer than the one hour you’ve spent talking so far.
If you’re one of “those” kind of people, the type to scratch your head at anyone who shows too much zeal for anything in life, here are 10 signs to help you recognise someone with an acute love for ice hockey. And if you’re already one of them, see whether you can identify yourself with any of the signs below.
- Your conversation starters with anyone remotely interested in hockey will be something on the lines of, “So, think Perlini has what it takes to be THE British NHL player?”
Some people will get their small talk on by discussing the weather or political events. Your conversations will always take on a specific outlook on the hockey climate. Whether it’s Brendan Perlini’s stellar performance in 2017, or lamenting the fact that ice hockey players aren’t paid as well as other sports’, it will always revolve around the hockey game.
- You have a hockey room.
The lucky ones will have a whole room dedicated to mint memorabilia, with legendary apparel mounted on the walls, snaps from renowned games or tickets of games you’ve attended and last but not least, a huge screen, a comfy sofa and good surround system to really get you in the spirit. Just crack open that beer and you’re good to go.
- NHL/EIHL and Chill is a thing
You really don’t have time for anything else on TV so you’re ready to forgo traditions to be able to accommodate your love. And by love we mean ice hockey, naturally.
- Most of your friends are hockey fans
It tends to happen when most of your days revolve around hockey discussions, hockey playing and hockey watching. You attract similar types of people and as a result, you stick together like a brotherhood. You’ve been on the road to support your team together, you’ve licked your wounds together and you’ve also had one too many celebratory pints together. If your friends are not that into hockey, you tend to…
- Make your non-hockey friends see the light
And that includes tours of your fantastic hockey room, a blow-by-blow account of that time you set the rookie goal scoring record in high school and dragging them with you to watch the Giants against the Devils whenever they’re playing home. You are obviously very biased when it comes to which teams they should support. They will probably stare and nod, wondering whether they really want to have anything to do with giants or devils at all.
- If there’s nothing hockey-related on TV, you try to get your fix in any other way.
And that includes buying even more collectibles, reading up on the history of ice hockey, surfing the web for any online hockey-themed games you can play, or if you’re lucky, you might even be chosen to volunteer at ice hockey championships! If that doesn’t work, you can always watch reruns of your favourite ice hockey moments – which you’ve conveniently bookmarked for ease of reference.
- You plan your holidays around the ice hockey schedule
It is a given that you will not plan anything for spring until you know whether or not your team makes it to the play-offs. You religiously take your annual leave in summer – and god forbid there’s a family event which sees you going abroad during game days. There are always two options when this happens:
- a) your family changes the dates for whatever it is (which could be difficult if the event in question is, say, a funeral. In which case:
b) you’re not attending.
- Your girlfriend/boyfriend is not too keen on the fact that they will always be second place
You can hear them huff and puff beside you as you ask them to please not interrupt your concentration on the game for the umpteenth time. They are definitely not amused when you drag them with you for practice very early on a Saturday morning. Or that they’re sitting in a freezing room for most of the time.
- But they show you they still love you by putting up with the awful smell of dirty hockey gear
If you play hockey, you’ll agree that that’s the ultimate test. Nothing smells worse than dirty hockey wear after a game where you’ve sweat it out the best you could. If they put up with the lingering smell in the car or room, then that’s a show of true love. You reciprocate by trying (and probably failing) to really get into what they enjoy doing. It almost never balances out though.
- You wish Winter was always coming
There’s something about the chill in the air which makes you associate it with hockey season. The frost beneath your feet, weekends full of games… it really is your own kind of Winter Wonderland. When it’s over, while everyone’s celebrating summer and vacations, you’re moping about and warning everyone who would listen that winter is coming… in 3 months or so…
Whether you’re the guy who’s always wearing your hero’s hockey gear, or whether you’re always saving for that trip to watch the Vegas Golden Knights (who are incidentally well on their way to winning the Pacific Division), it’s great to know that there’s a thriving community for anyone who loves hockey in Britain. And if you still can’t understand why we love the sport so much, we’ll just ask you to watch a game once. The adrenalin, the physical contact and the speed amongst other things will make your heart race and you will find yourself at the edge of your seat without realising it. Then, my friend, you just know: you’ll have to watch another one soon.