Hockey exciting enough to take hold in the Southern US

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If you miss contact sports like football, look no further to find the next best thing: professional ice hockey.

Ice hockey was first played in Canada during the nineteenth century but was not the only type of hockey that was played. In South America, Asia and Africa, along with some European countries like Spain, Germany and the Netherlands, field hockey was also popular.

Hockey has earned the nickname as the “Fastest Game on Earth” because of the constant movement. A National Hockey League game consists of three 25-minute periods. Each period has an intermission that is approximately 18 minutes long that allows the ice to be coated smoothly with water by a Zamboni and gives the players a breather.

The NHL was founded in 1917 and was made up of five franchises. Like any other sport, it has developed over the years. The original six were the Boston Bruins, Chicago Blackhawks, Detroit Red Wings, Montreal Canadians, New York Rangers and Toronto Maple Leafs. Now the NHL has 30 teams all competing for one goal and that is the Stanley Cup. The Cup was established in 1893 and was then called the Dominion Hockey Challenge Cup. It was named after the Lord Stanley of Preston who had a fascination for hockey.

In some ways, hockey is similar to soccer because both are low scoring games with a lot of defense. Each score being worth one point and the size of the net makes the game challenging. The challenge increases when there is a 6-foot, 2-inch, 198-pound goalie defending the net.

Hockey has a lot of physicality, and I think that is the best part of the game. There is pushing, shoving and fighting. A fight in a hockey game can go as far as breaking the other person’s nose or beating them until they hit the ice. You can fight until the referee decides the battle is over. Like other sports, hockey has rules for fighting. Some fights are staged to bring excitement to a team if they need momentum. However, it is more passionate if one teammate is defending the other. If you get into a fight, both players will serve a five-minute penalty and the team has to play one man down.

People may argue that hockey is too violent of a sport because all they do is fight and block. I think hockey is more entertaining than it appears, and for some people, it is a necessity. In the northern parts of the United States, hockey appears in almost all colleges and professional leagues are in every state. It is a demanding sport just like football is for the southern parts of the country. We may love our football, but they love their hockey even more. We, as a dominant football or baseball region, do not have the teams to get us excited about hockey. Louisiana has a minor league hockey team in Lafayette called the Ice Gators. The closest NHL team to us is the Dallas Stars and for some that may not be close enough.

I think people forget that there are other sports besides baseball, basketball and football. If you like football, I promise you will enjoy watching hockey. Give hockey a chance, you might find it just as exciting as I do.

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