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I Hate That!

October 5, 2011 General No Comments

I hate that!
By Bill Ferguson
Nov 5, 2001, 07:58

 

© Breck Wilson

We recently asked Hockey Player’s raving, roving reporter to run down some of the things about the game that get under his skin. What follows, depending on your point of view, is either an insightful look at the state of hockey today, or simply a report from the lunatic fringe. You decide!

 

When I talk about things that bug me in hockey, bear in mind that the penalty for these infractions should be dragging the offender around the rink until he is seriously traumatized, has terminal abrasions, or both. Does this, seem a little severe? Not when you consider that these things detract from the joy of the game for those of us who are serious about it.

What I hate the most, and the infraction that should be penalized with the utmost unrestrained enthusiasm, is anything that makes the game less fun. The worst of these offenders is the youth coach so obsessed with winning that he takes a loss or tie as a personal failure. I’m sure we have all played with people who fit into this category.

I’ve even played with someone who would yell at his dad for making a dumb play, and this was in a pick-up roller hockey game on a tennis court! “Dad, why didn’t you hit me; I was open!” And it didn’t end there. Guys like that really need to get a life.

I also hate the guy who doesn’t care—who has no pride in his game. This guy could play hockey forever, and never get any better. He never takes a lesson to improve his skills, and advice given is forgotten within a shift or two. He throws the puck away without looking, and if you give him the puck beside an empty net, he looks like he is trying to stickhandle with goalie gloves on. This guy is also likely to drop his stick if you give him a good hard pass. Eventually you don’t pass to him, so you’re playing shorthanded when he’s on the ice. I hate that!

How about the player who never learned to pass the puck along the ice? His idea of a pass is to shoot it at you. “Try catching this one, bud!” We all know that touch is as important in hockey, if you’re going to make the sweet play, as it is in golf. The old “Hands of Stone” syndrome is as bad on the passing end as it is on the receiving end. Some guys seem to think that if you’re in position to tip a shot, they need to shoot it harder!

 

Heads up!

Then there’s the defenseman who, as you screen the goalie, blasts one at your chest. Maybe he thinks he shoots so hard he can put it through you and the goalie.

Almost as bad is the know-it-all. He’s often a gifted player, but one the other players on his team don’t even want to talk to—especially during the game. You can always spot this guy on the bench. Every time he starts to talk to his teammates, they bend down to retie their skates, or cheer on the guys on the ice, or take a bench minor; anything rather than talk to this guy.

Have you noticed that players like this only come up with “constructive criticisms” that tend to enhance their own point totals? Don’t we all hate that?

We have an abundance of cherry-pickers here in my league, and you know what? I hate them. It’s hard to feel bad when your own team scores, but if you were in a better position to score than he was, shouldn’t he have given it up? Surely if he doesn’t score you will tell him about it, but does that mean he’ll pass it next time? Noooo!

This guy is always a treat for his defensemen, too, since he never sees the other side of the red line. And this guys parents are usually at every game: they think he’s the greatest, and I’m sure he’d agree. This, I hate!

Speaking of defensemen, don’t you love the guy who thinks he’s always going to keep the puck in? Of course if he’s wrong, their man is in alone. But he’ll keep trying. I guess he’s what’s called a bonehead, because it surely takes no brains to make the same mistake over and over again.

Almost as bad is the dipsy doodler, who has a “patented play” that never works—yet, like the bonehead, he keeps trying it. I played with a fellow for years who had a play where he would skate in on goal, then make his cut at the last instant without the puck, leaving it to continue sliding toward the net, and assuming the goalie would cover the side he cut to. Usually goalies were too slow to react to his last move and made the easy save, or watched the puck trickle wide or hit the post. He never scored on this play, yet he practiced it every warm-up, and would usually try it at least once during the game. It looked great on paper, but not on the ice. I hate that.

Which brings me to goalies. I hate to knock keepers—since they have the toughest job on the ice—and as a defenseman, I have my back to then more often then not. But there are a couple of types that really get me going. I once played with a guy who, every time we got scored on, would turn to the guy on his team closest to him, and start up with “Why didn’t you get that guy?” Or, “Don’t let them shoot!” Or something equally ludicrous. It was hard not to laugh at this guy. I don’t think he ever had a goal scored on him that was his fault. He was a whiner, and they’re the worst!

Unfortunately for him, and for me, this same guy was also the second-worst type of goalie; the fish. Also known as the beached whale, once this guy goes down, it takes a buzzer to bring them back up. You’d think these guys were wearing body armor, since the only sitting up they do is at the dinner table.

 

Plenty more to hate

I don’t want to give the impression that everything I hate about hockey involves players. There’s plenty to hate about the ref, too. Start with this: if these guys could play, wouldn’t they? No one would intentionally take the zebra’s job if there were another one available. They must hate themselves.

But why do hate refs, at least the bad ones? Because the worst of them ruin the game for everyone. What’s worse than a game that ends with both teams upset at the ref?

I really hate the ref who’s on a power trip. The guy who whistles you for a penalty; threatens you with a misconduct for asking “what for?”; then gives you 10 if you merely keep re-questing an an-swer. If you then respond with some comment about him or his mother—a natural result, really—you get the game.

Almost as bad is the ref who is clueless. This type usually has a pet call, like “Man in The Crease.” The kind who, if you stop along the boards and the man with the puck runs into you, will whistle you because it made a lot of noise. We once had a ref who disallowed goals every game—at least one or two. Why? He just wanted to keep his hand in, I guess. But I hated it.

So let’s include on the “I hate” list those league administrators who have kept guys like this working rather than replacing them as deserving to be properly cleaned and eaten.

There are things I hate in college hockey, like all those ugly Jerseys. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a college team with a good-looking sweater. They all look like they picked their designs from a 1910-era catalogue! Perhaps they should drop their school logos and colors and start from scratch. Maybe then they would draw some fans!

Think I’m being a bit severe? Maybe, but I always hated school.

 

Duct tape? Czech pucks?

Let’s talk about tape. Don’t you hate the guy who uses duct tape on his equipment? I do. Whoever started this trend deserves to be used as a faceoff dot.

I hate players who never wash their jerseys. Heck, a lot of them never even take their gear out of the bag to dry! Don’t look over your shoulder, bud; you know who I’m talking about. Your teammates sure do. Sometimes the shoe fits a little closer to the home closet, eh?

One night on the SportCourt, it was late in the game when I dried my head with my sleeve and thought “Uuuggh! Whose jersey is this?” Of course, it was mine. Sometimes, I even hate myself.

I hate breaking a new stick the first time I bring it on the ice. Not only do I lose my prime weapon—the one you with the sure game-winning goal in it—but I’m out 27 bucks!

Speaking of bucks, I hate it that I’ve spent almost as much on roller hockey gear as I have on my ice gear. It was supposed to be a cheaper alternative!

And then there are pucks. I hate that all pucks seem to be made in Czechoslovakia, or the Czech Republic, or whatever. Didn’t Peter Puck once tell me that all pucks were made, stamped and vulcanized right here in North America? Oh, well. The times they are a changin’.

There are things I hate about NHL hockey. For one thing, they have their own rule book. Most of us see more NHL hockey than any other form of the game, yet if we play by their rules we get called for it. I hate that!

While we’re on the subject of rule books, why does the NHL enact new rules every year that are enforced early on, yet come playoff time, everyone including the refs has forgotten them?

We’re all aware of the third-period rulebook and the overtime rulebook—which reads like a blank sheet of paper. But what about the superstar rulebook, as opposed to the blue-collar rulebook? Anyone who watches hockey knows that it makes a difference, and I hate that.

One thing I really hate is the empty feeling in my stomach when the Stanley Cup is won and the season is over, because I know it will be three or four months before I’ll see any real sporting action.

Finally, you know what I hate the most? People who would rather watch baseball than a fast-paced game of hockey. Why? Because for everything I hate, I still love this game.

 

This first appeared in the 10/1995 issue of Hockey Player Magazine®
© Copyright 1991-2001 Hockey Player® and Hockey Player Magazine®

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