Hockey, It's a Religion

My hockey worship began in the early Seventies, when I was quite young. during The heady days of Bobby Hull and Tony Esposito, my friends and i would be found sitting on the floor in front of the TV watching WGN/chicago and listening to Jack Brickhouse mispronounce everyone's name. we lined up all the transistor radios in the house across the kitchen table, all tuned to a faint WBZ/Boston, the sheer number of them making it loud enough to hear the announcers calling the Boston Bruins games.

Bobby Orr.

Derek Sanderson!

My first hockey loves.

Years later, as I was planning my escape from an abusive spouse, I attended my first blackHawks game in the old Chicago stadium. it was The dawn of the Nineties, with a hot new rookie in Chicago. Hot in more ways than one, I found out, as Jeremy Roenick skated past and winked at me during the pre-game warmups.

If I wasn't hooked as a child, I was certainly hooked then.

My love didn't falter, not for more than a decade and a half. My first time back in the stands after Roenick retired, I was fearful. Fearful I wouldn't love the game as much. Afraid my interest would wane without him on the ice. Knowing that my heart would be broken as the team took the ice and he wasn't among them.

My heart was indeed broken, but my love for the game lived on. My worship of the game was exactly as it had always been. Unlike anything on Earth.

we have embarked on yet another hockey season, while I plan the season's roadtrips and wait for my beloved Blackhawks to come to town. And although my favorite player is no longer taking the ice, my heart still breaks just a little remembering how I could just sit for hours and watch him skate. i miss my friend. i miss our conversations. I miss the way he skated. but my love for the game lives on.

The hockey arena is my place of worship. It’s where I go to praise the hockey gods. I am there to see my savior, the man in the net. I sit in my seat to show my respect, I join in the chorus of cheers and praise and show my ever lasting faith by wearing my church best on a regular basis.