Because when we close our eyes at night, we can watch ourselves rip one-timers from the dot until we fall asleep.
Because, give us a number, and we’ll give you a player name.
Because of the equipment. Anyone else buy new shin guards and elbow pads for a 10-year-old this past weekend, only to watch her put them back on to eat lunch?
Because while the NHL won't be starting as it usually does in October, we’re still likely to get the NHL Entry Draft and free agency.
Squeaking of sneakers, swishing of basketballs, cracks of the bat and the sound of colliding football pads have their place in sports, but because of hockey’s ring of the post, skates carving ice, slap shots, snap shots, pucks against the glass, bench doors slamming and the ceaseless chatter.
Because of the cellys, even in a time of Covid.
Because of the nicknames.
Because it’s the ultimate team sport.
Because players talk about a goal they scored as if it was an accident that wouldn’t have happened without insert-teammate-nickname-here's “great look” to find them.
Because of the laughter in the locker room.
Because when you’re looking back the bad games, those are usually good for a laugh, too.
Because even an away rink feels like home.
Because your home rink is home.
Because hockey friendships will last a lifetime
Because you can get a little better – sometimes a lot better – every single time you're on the ice.
Because you'll wake up one day realizing that if you play the game in a way that makes you and your team better – backchecking, supporting your teammates, listening, thanking, assisting – you just might wind up a better person, too.
Because it’s back