AGirlintheSouth is the lead Houston Astros writer for Aerys Sports. This offseason, she’s trying to learn the one sport missing from her repertoire, Hockey, by following the Houston Aeros. This article is part of her quest to understand the game, appreciate the players and fill the baseball offseason. She may not be a hockey expert yet, but she’s got some interesting observations! Join her in her quest to determine if loving Hockey is like cheating on her first love.
If you ask me what my favorite sport is, the one I can’t live without, the one I count down the days of offseason, it’s baseball.
I’m a baseball girl. I cheer for the team that’s currently the worst team in baseball and I love every.single.minute. I spend as much time as I can at the ballpark. I go to spring training. I listen to games on the radio. I’m that girl.
But about a month ago, it was brought to my attention that hockey season very conveniently fills the gap that some call winter, but I call “baseball’s offseason.”
Could hockey become my secondary sport? Could I like hockey? Could I love it? If I learn hockey will I be cheating on baseball? That is what I have set out to discover.
First step on my road to Hockey Fandom? I needed to find myself a few coaches, people I could ask the stupid questions of and people who would be able to help me not only learn how the game is played but how the front office of a team is run.
I did what anyone does these days: I turned to Twitter!
Twitter is a resource rich in opinion and is not often as well-versed in learning, but it was amazing how quickly I was able to locate a trio of sportwriters here in Houston that cover hockey (among other things) that were eager to share their love of the game and get another fan hooked on the sport they love. Within a week of my tweet for help, I was meeting one of said sportswriters for lunch to start my Hockey 101 training.
Andrew (@n737af) ran my preliminary training session. What’d we cover? Well, hockey, you see, is played on ice with sticks. I kid, I kid. I DID know that much. But having grown up in the South where a block of ice is only found in your freezer, I didn’t know much beyond that. What we did talk about was NHL v. AHL v. ECHL.
Turns out NHL is the majors, AHL is like AAA and ECHL is like AA. I was starting to understand. Andrew was good at relating the world of hockey to my known world of baseball. I knew that there’s an AHL team in Houston (The Houston Aeros) and they’re pretty good! Well, they were last year. I guess a bunch of players got sent up to the big club (The Minnesota Wild) so we’ll have to wait and see for this year. (That almost sounded like I know what I’m talking about, right?)
So I’ve begun this quest just as my beloved Houston Astros have hit rock bottom in the baseball world and just as training camps are beginning for Hockey season. I have a date with another of my hockey tutors, Heather (@msconduct10), to acutally WATCH hockey soon. Apparently there are important lessons in the wonders of Goalie Thighs that I need to understand to truely appreciate this sport.
I have to say that one of the reasons I never investigated hockey before was that I thought it would be similar in pace to basketball, which is tough for my ADD-riddled self to watch.
I’m assured that’s not the case.
Even though the players move with great speed across the ice, it’s not like they score on every length of they cover, so there’s more strategy involved than I would have assumed at first glance. I like games with strategy. I guess I’ll soon find out if hockey is one of them.
I will say this, hockey fans seem to be true fans — ingrained into one team whether it’s the best or the worst in the league and that makes it appealing to me.
I’m a one team kind of girl.
This week I’ll be watching some hockey. I’m sure I’ll be confused and have a million questions. I’m nervous that I’ll feel like I’m cheating on baseball, but that season’s about over (especially for the Astros). But most of all, I’m excited to learn about a sport I’ve never given much thought.
So later this week, I’ll let you know about my first watching experience and what will be next in my Hockey 101 season. Have a suggestion? Throw it at me, I’d love to hear what “Real Hockey Fans” think I should know!
Terri Schlather (AGirlintheSouth) is the Senior Houston Astros Writer for Aerys Sports. You can read her Astros blog at www.talesfromthejuicebox.com, email her at email@example.com, or follow her on twitter @agirlinthesouth.