Word on the street says the NHL is going to be dropping the puck for real this year a week from tomorrow. I’m pretty pumped about it. I’ve only gotten to break out my Jonathan Toews jersey once this season, and I almost didn’t wear it then. The story isn’t all that interesting, either.* As pumped as I am, though, I’m not sure I would have truly missed the NHL this season.
*Just for completeness-sake and maybe satisfy some curiosity, here is the story. I’ve written here before about the Danville Wings and how I grew up with them. Since I can’t get to that article at the time of writing, I’m not sure if I wrote about how the Danville Wings ceased to be. I probably did, but whatever, I’ll write it out again. The Wings were very successful and popular in Danville, in a way that no other hockey in town has come remotely close to being. The Indianapolis Ice at that time were apparently not as popular, seeing as they folded in 2004 after moving down a league. After the team folded, there was apparently still a demand for hockey in Indy. The interested parties started looking for cheaper teams and leagues to move to town, and I remember reading in the Indianapolis Star one day that the Wings were one of the teams they were intensely interested in buying. And, well, having first hand experience with their success, I just knew they would be the team bought and moved. Sure enough, the following season, the Indianapolis Ice were replaced by the Indiana Ice. I steadfastly refused to see this team for some time, preferring that they had continued on in Danville, as Danville seemed to need something like the team to root for a lot more than Indianapolis did or would. Hockey has floundered in Danville since as far as I know (I haven’t been to a [new] Dashers game as of yet to say for sure).
Anyway, my brother, who as far as I know didn’t have the same resentment I did at all, started going to a few games the last season or two up at the fairgrounds. I could feel my resolve start to crumble a bit, mostly because I’d never been to anything at the Coliseum after missing the Pacer preseason game there a few years ago. Hockey seemed like as good a reason as any to check out the arena. I never made it when they were playing there, though. The team now uses Bankers Life Fieldhouse as their home ice. Andrew again started to get on me to go, and a couple weeks ago I finally caved. Here was my problem: they of course were going to be playing the Chicago Steel. I was going to a hockey game, so it only seemed to make sense to wear my hockey jersey. But my jersey is a Chicago jersey, and I was going to be cheering for Indiana, naturally. It was a stressful choice, but I eventually went ahead and wore it. It still wasn’t looking promising for having an NHL season at the time, so I was afraid I wouldn’t wear it at all this winter if I didn’t wear it then. By the way, the ice didn’t seem to be top notch at the fieldhouse, but that didn’t stop the game from being highly entertaining and highly affordable. I would definitely recommend it. Now, back to the main post. I told you it wasn’t very interesting.
You see, my problem with the NHL season is that it overlaps with the NBA season. I love watching hockey, but I have a longer and deeper history with the Pacers, who have reasserted themselves on the national stage. When I was living on my own, this wasn’t really a problem. I could watch whatever the hell I wanted and nobody would say the first word. Even when I was going through the “not working” thing, I could record the games, avoid ESPN that night, and watch what I’d missed the next morning. But, now that I’m married, Kristine doesn’t have the same sort of excitement for the NBA or the NHL that I do. She’ll watch football and she’ll watch college basketball, but that’s about it. Anything more, and there’s complaining. With being able to more or less forget the Blackhawks were around, it was pretty manageable to really get into the Pacers. Especially now that they’re really starting to click. But now I’m going to have to find some time to get the Blackhawks in there, as there are still high expectations, despite the second half swoon last year. And, you know, there’s still Purdue in there, too.
I love all the winter sports, I really do. I just wish they could somehow be spread out a little better. Maybe this will be a little easier when we have kids, because, to put it crudely, I’m not the only one responsible for entertaining everybody. But for right now, there are just too many sports I’m trying to squeeze into too little time. I suppose, though, if I’m going to have problems, that’s a lot better problem to have than most that could come my way.
At least when baseball season rolls around, I’m sure the Cubs won’t give me a lot of reasons to stay glued to my couch.