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Hurricane Hockey

What do I like about hockey? It brings all the rival basketball fans together under one roof! Whether you’re a rabid Carolina Tar Heel, a Cameron Crazy Duke Blue Devil, or a howling wolf packer of NC State allegiance, y’all will wear red, black, and white when gathered under one dome pulling for the Carolina Hurricanes. Not only do the collegiate loyalties take a back seat but also the differences in backgrounds. You see white-collar guys seated next to blue-collar guys, and they’re all hollering for some Canadian or Finnish fellow with an unpronounceable name.

That’s another thing I like–the worldliness of it. These players aren’t from the hamlet down the road or from a state a car ride away. In the arena hang flags representing the origins of the players, a Czech flag is blowing next to a Maple Leaf. I like to watch the warm-ups before the game begins. I like to look at the huge TV screens featuring the different players as they don their masks. A handsomer group you won’t find, even in Hollywood! I used to picture hockey players as toothless, scarred, with askew noses and lopsided faces. No longer.

The etiquette is a bit intimidating, at first, in that you cannot leave your seat for a potty break when the puck is in play. And when you want to go to the restroom, it seems as if the puck is always in play. I had to get used to the screaming at the refs, as I am not prone to do that, but I understand that a poor call by a ref can mean certain defeat for your team. When teams go into overtime, it’s the first score in that net that wins the game so if a team has just been penalized by an erroneous call and has one fewer man than their opponents, it’s a major disadvantage and most likely a game changer!

I like the team spirit of hockey. No one can grandstand. Folks enjoy the fights. Not unlike reality TV and gladiator days of yore, there remains something exciting about witnessing spontaneous tempests. Me, I like hot dogs, pretzels, and Canadian beer. I like the loudness of the spectacle and the various activities they have for us spectators during breaks. I like the thumping music and the big screen with cameras zooming in on common folks in the stands, especially on enthusiastic tots bopping to the beat. I relish the family fun aspect. I like to watch the Zamboni reglaze the ice. I even like the coolness of the temperature which feels like winter–while daffodils bloom outside in sunny Raleigh, North Carolina.


  1. I know nothing about hockey! I really enjoyed reading about it from your perspective!!I love your subtle sense of humor! As usual, this was very well written!

  2. i like the pictures your words paint of being a fan in the stands during a hurricanes hockey game.
    you make me enjoy it without the shivers, shouts and showdowns; and
    my bladder has the added luxury of not being held hostage by a schmuck with the puck!

  3. Right on Erika, “Let’s go CANES!” It is reassuring to see people who otherwise “hate” each other (UNC / Duke fans) come together and cheer on a diverse and talented group of athletes. Gives us a glimmer of hope that our state and federal representatives might learn to do the same, i.e. learn to coalesce around a common goal. Of course, beer and pretzels help.

  4. Great story! Now that I see hockey through Erika’s eyes, I might even attempt to go to a game one of these days.

  5. Your approach to hockey is perfect! I am not an avid sports fan, but I “love” the Red Sox because my family does. I sat through many games at Fenway Park when the kids were young and looked forward to the trips to Boston, the crowds, the huff of competition, and the smell of hot dogs in the air. The air was crisp, and I reveled in my soft, fleecy Red Sox sweatshirt. There’s so much more to sports than–sports!

  6. Hockey season is coming soon! You have given me a new perspective to go and enjoy the entire “show”. I used to love the Zamboni machine and the beer. It’s been a while. Great inspiration!

  7. Way to go, Erika!
    Have never been a fan of hockey, but you made me feel like I’m missing something.

  8. I never thought of hockey in that way, but maybe it’s time to try a game. Not sure about the bathroom break rule though!! Thanks for the fun and enlightening article!
    Still….GO HEELS!

  9. Not a hockey fan but you sure make it sound like a lot of fun. I was transported from my bed (where I was checking my emails) to a cool sports arena. I say “well done”. As always you make me chuckle as I’m reading. Thank you for starting my day on a happy note.

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