For weeks now, I’ve been wishing and hoping and praying (and sticking pins in my Gary Bettman voodoo doll) that this ridiculous lockout would come to an end.
With no foreseeable resolution in sight, I have to focus my hockey attention elsewhere…for the sake of my own mental health and for those around me.
Luckily, Sunday was the unofficial start of the Boston University Men’s Hockey season. Although college hockey will never be the NHL, it is a very welcome and satiating alternative, especially at BU.
You see, BU Hockey is one of the premier college hockey programs in the country. It has produced countless numbers of NHL stars, Olympic medal winners, and All-Americans. They won national championships, the most recent in 2009 in what can only be describe as an “epic OT win”.
Three years later and I still get goosebumps every time I see this clip.
Additionally, BU is a member of Hockey East which includes Boston College, Maine, University of New Hampshire, and UMass (Lowell & Massachusetts), who have also produced NHL-caliber talent. Add in Notre Dame next season and you’d be hard pressed to find a more competitive and prestigious conference in NCAA Hockey.
But the thing I love most about college hockey is the “Before They Were Famous” cache. You have a chance to watch players grow – not only physically but in their understanding of the game of hockey.
Their passes become sharper, their slapshots more accurate, their hits harder. And then for the lucky few who do make it into the NHL, you gets to say “I saw them when”.
When they make it to the NHL, you cheer them on, even when they play for your arch rival.
You always write them in on the All-Star ballot, even if they have no chance of making it.
BU had a rough go of it in the off-season with major internal drama and the loss of key players. The team has 9 freshman, include 2 goalies who will fight for the starting job, but watching them on Sunday, I’m filled with a tentative optimism for the season ahead.
Alot can happen in college hockey. The pendulum can swing from one extreme to another over the course of a season, a game, or even a period.
College hockey might be an imperfect game but it is exciting, entertaining, and passionate.
And right now, it’s the only game I got.
Tags: Boston University, Boston University Hockey, Hockey East, NCAA Hockey, Terriers