Hockey is one of the most underrated sports and that needs to change.

The game of hockey is one of the most underrated sports. Though it has gained more popularity throughout the last five or so years, it is still considered one of the most underrated sports.

Being a hockey player myself, I get it.

NHL Hall of Famer Brendan Shanahan was once asked the question, Iis hockey hard?” 

He responded with “Is hockey hard? I don’t know, you tell me. We need to have the strength and power of a football player, the stamina of a marathon runner and the concentration of a brain surgeon. But we need to put all this together while moving at high speeds on a cold and slippery surface while five other guys use clubs to try and kill us. Oh yeah, did I mention that this whole time we’re standing on blades ⅛ of an inch thick? Is Ice hockey hard? I don’t know, you tell me. Next question.” 

Brendan Shanahan, being the tough and gritty player he was, understood the complexion of being a hockey player. The general public sees hockey as a violent sport; understandably as it’s crazy to see how these players are built and are able to take punishing body checks and punches to the face. But it doesn’t take away the fact that the game is extremely fun and entertaining. 

One of the most common sayings I hear from people when I mention that I play hockey is how entertaining the sport is— from the physicality to the extremely fast pace of the game. Hockey is also the only sport where you can get into a full fist fight and only get a five-minute penalty for fighting, then jump right back onto the ice. 

The biggest thing that brings crowds to the rinks is the physicality of hockey. Everyone—and I mean everyone—loves a body check, there’s nothing quite like it. Seeing two guys going at least 15 miles per hour running into each other for a little six-ounce rubber biscuit is one thing, but the sounds of the hit can be surprising for people. Hearing a loud bang from a body bouncing off of plexiglass is quite the experience. 

For people like myself who’ve invested many years of their life to this incredible game, the structures of the ways the game is played is extremely intriguing. Teams run a certain system at which they attack the other teams and a certain system when defending against the attack of an opposing team. The different ways to play the game in terms of strategies is interesting and how different teams find success on the ice in different ways. 

For example, the New York Islanders are known as a “boring” team to watch because of their defense first approach. And a team like the Carolina Hurricanes who are considered the most offensive team in the league averaging 3.48 goals per game and their very aggressive forecheck, when the league’s average goals per game for this year is 3.05.

Another aspect of the game is the pace of the game and how electric a hockey game can get and how loud an arena can get at crucial moments in a game. It’s hard to compare atmospheres in sporting events but in hockey, hearing a goal horn go off and the crowd erupting when the home team scored a goal is an incredible experience. It’s something that gets the blood pumping and heart racing. 

There really is nothing quite like the game of hockey, and the newfound popularity the sport has gotten in the last couple of years just shows how entertaining this game can be.