Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Who Started Hockey Anyway?!?!

What is hockey? The Society for International Hockey Research has issued a definition meant to accommodate early forms of the activity: Hockey is a game played on an ice rink in which two opposing teams of skaters, using curved sticks, try to drive a small disc, ball or block into or through the opposite goals.

It is as simple as that. There is no reference to rules. I personally accept hockey as any pastime where participants on ice skates use a club, or other wooden implement, to knock a puck or some such propellant around the ice. Others say an activity cannot be recognized as hockey unless it is a contest between teams and conducted under an accepted set of rules. On most days I would have said "Screw the rules". However, as a referee I can not say that anymore. Andy would make sure of that. Games bearing some resemblance to hockey are known to have taken place in Europe as early as the sixteenth century. A painting by Pietr Bruegel entitled "Hunters in the Snow" (circa 1565), depicts skaters carrying curved sticks. One of these figures is about to fire off the first slap shot with a small object on the ice. We have suspicions that it was VJ's "Team Elder" John Lawerence, but they are just suspicions. He was probably too young to be on the ice back then.

The earliest skate blades were fashioned from animal bones. If they were trying to play hockey, can you imagine the panic that caused when they fell and one of those animal bones went sliding across the ice? "Shit JD! "Is that from your shoulder?!?!" That is likely why polished iron blades were used after that in the 1500s.

So, modern research points to North America as the region where the idea of hockey as a sport came from. Versions of the game are said to have happened in New York and Newfoundland as early as the late eighteenth century. The International Ice Hockey Federation has endorsed a longstanding Montréal claim. It is based on documented evidence, in newspapers, of a specific game between two teams of identified members and a recorded score. The match was played at the city's Victoria Rink on March 3, 1875. No earlier descriptions of an actual game of hockey with a recorded score have ever been found. But to make it official, it ended in a brawl and there was beer on hand. We think John was likely there and involved some way. We just can't prove it...

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Future of Hockey

So what about the new generation of hockey player? Will they be stronger, faster and smarter? Will they be more accurate? Will they be any better? Will they love it at much as we do? Since the only constant in life is change, we can bet that the next generation will break our records proving that they can be better. But will they love it as much as we do? On my dad's birthday I asked him about his favorite sport which was wrestling. He was pretty proud to say his sons were better at wrestling than he ever was and I started to think about that experience. I remember growing up listening to him shout encouragement and tap his temple remind me to "Think at least 3 moves ahead". He helped me perfect the sit out move and roll the mats out after matches. He knew my coaches by first middle and last name. He got me the lightest shoes and knew how many stitches I had at all times. He loved wrestling. As the next generation came along, he helped me become a better wrestler than he was. I guess Darwin had a point. So with this in mind, I took Gracie out to shovel the pond for the IFHL Pond Hockey Classic. I am not sure if I have committed any child labor violations but I did have Gracie on the pond sweeping for almost 3 hours this afternoon with no snacks or naps.

She supervised and directed Rhett and I on the proper technique of shoveling. Like all good leaders she got in there and worked with us. She had a ball. I guess if I had to place a bet I'd bet that she will love hockey like I do. The future is safe for the time being.

Friday, January 9, 2009

IFLH Hockey Classic

Preparations were well underway for the inaugural IFLH Palouse Pond Hockey Classic. It was to be held at the soon to be sentenced "Dr. Dipsticks" pond at some point in the winter of 2009. A couple of weeks ago it got pretty chilly here in Cowtown so the "I Fu#^ing Love Hockey" crew banded together to scrape the ice, drink beer, and brag about committment. On the first scrape there were 7 tools and a frozen pond.

The new Canadian "Dr. Dipstick" from Fla (go figure) worked his new truck into a snow pile and 5 of his lackeys (one step below "hoser" since they just scraped the ice and didn't actually hose the ice) had to dig him out. Notice how many of them are actually digging. It took them a while...

At the end of the day, the beer got drank, Don Cherry reruns were played and KLImaxxx's level of commitment was called into question. This is the question of the week. Does he truly love hockey? Short Fat Kid thinks KLImaxxx adores parts of hockey. George the Gringo thinks he just has sex with hockey. Childers (Greek for "outside the zone") suggests that he may have a crush on hockey. So lets let the crowd decide. We will see who's idea gets the most votes and declare it "The Truth". Vote this week on the poll. For a little history check out http://palousepondhockey.blogspot.com/ .

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Skier Suffers Exposure - January 6, 2009

This is why I play hockey. Click on the link and read up on Moonlight skiing at Vail.

Skier Suffers Exposure - January 6, 2009

So what about fighting in hockey?

Although it is not allowed at PIRA, fighting is what sets Ice Hockey apart from other sport. It has a long history throughout amateur and pro play. Although it has been a definite source of criticism, fighting continues to pack the stands and it is encouraged. Ever heard "I went to a fight over at the pond and a hockey game broke out."? People live to see grown men fight on a slippery surface. Every team has an enforcer. He is the "fighter", "tough guy" or "goon".

An enforcer's job is to deter and respond to dirty or violent play by the opposition. When such play occurs, the enforcer is expected to respond. Some times the goon is the goalie. Take the Dominican Daddy's hero Ron Hextal for example:


So why do they take off their helmets during a fight? Why not protect that pretty mug?

The only rule for face protection during a fight that I could find is if a player penalized as an instigator of an altercation is wearing a face shield (including the Dominican Daddy), he shall be assessed an additional unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. Should the player who instigates the fight be wearing a face shield, but removes it before instigating the altercation, the additional unsportsmanlike conduct penalty shall not apply. Certainly part of the reason is a sort of a Victorian-era code that still lives deep in the heart of the game. NHL players who choose to wear visors are regularly subject to harassment by their peers on the ice.

It is my guess fighting will always be a part of hockey in the NHL. Why don't we do in in Moscow? I guess we would rather drink beer out of numbered mugs and talk about Don Cherry re-runs.