Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Challenging Game of Hockey

by Urther Queen

Considering the country's love affair with the game most people would be surprised to learn that hockey is not the national sport of Canada. Many people in Canada eat, sleep, and breathe hockey. The roots of hockey are in Ireland, back when it was called Hurley, but hockey is defiantly a Canadian sport. Due to its infectious nature, hockey has caught on all over the world. It became very popular throughout Canada, especially the East coast in the 1800s.

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In 1917, a league was formed to guide the play among professional hockey teams. This league, the National Hockey League (NHL) originally consisted of five teams. But the numbers quickly grew and by the end of the century there would be 30 teams from all over Canada and the USA. For many fans, hockey is serious business.

While the US teams have dominated the hockey playoffs, called the Stanley Cup, in recent years, the sport still has a bigger following in Canada. Hockey Night in Canada is quite an event in many households and sports bars. Several teams in Canada have fallen by the wayside in the past several years such as the Winnipeg Jets and the Quebec Nordiques. This is an unfortunate cause of the high player salaries.

Hockey stars are able to demand high salaries for their game. In part, this is what leads some of the top players to teams in the US. Some Canadian teams find it challenging to keep their homegrown players thanks to high salary demands. This is one of the issues in the 2004 NHL dispute that resulted a curtailed season.

Hockey is a very violent game and unfortunately, violence is very common in the little leagues. Spectators love to watch the opposing team get crushed against the boards. Many people wonder what this is teaching young fans. Aggressive play is not being tolerated in many leagues whereas others have banned this type contact all together. The NHL however, has not started anything of this kind.

These days' parents have become a bit too passionate at little league hockey games. There is an increasing number of fights between parents and verbal and physical abuse against referees and coaches. This has prompted many people to stay away from the sport or putting their children in after school hockey programs. The thought of knowing that the parents care more about who wins than the kids do is frightening. Regardless of this hockey will always be a popular game in North America.

No matter what happens though, hockey will always be a popular game in North America. Europe enjoys much success in the hockey world as well. Recent world championships have highlighted little known places such as Belarus. Anywhere you can find frozen ponds in the winter are the perfect place for a little ice hockey. This isn't always the case though, look at the Los Angeles Kings!

Hockey remains one of the favorite games in North American cities and many fans hope to enjoy hockey during the 2004/2005 NHL season. But even without the pros, there are farm teams and minor leagues teams playing hockey, so hockey fans can still get their hockey fix. If you are curious to see what all the fuss is over, check out a game at your local hockey arena and you'll feel the excitement in the air - and on the ice. No wonder hockey is so popular!

Urther Queen is the owner of UQ Hockey, the best place on the internet for information about hockey, For questions or comments about this article why not visit:

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