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Sep 18th 2003

hockey is better

hockey is better. i go on first to clean the hair. not hockey is better. i make the hair silky and smooth. oh, really fool? [scuffling noises]

doug religiously maintains, with the awkward giddiness of your child’s hall monitor, that ice hockey is inferior to many other sports. he is especially vocal in putting down hockey next to basketball and football.

often, doug cites the “larger audience” for football and basketball, and considers the argument done. well, if we’re going to go on that subjective information (the philosopher hume might call it a “secondary quality”) then NASCAR would have to be america’s number one sport.

disgusting, right?

doug’s argument is starting to fall apart! but let’s go back in time, shall we? wasn’t vanilla ice great? everybody loved him, didn’t they? what about tight-rolling your jeans, doug? you know you did it (or at least gazed in awe at the popular kids who did) and, last, but certainly most unbelievably, jimmy carter was actually PRESIDENT. yes, he was. of the united states. for a whole term.

objective primary qualities like speed of the game, pace of the action (or frequency of play stoppages), skill level of players, etc. are probably better criteria for what is a good sport than the whims of the american populace. (is it counterintuitive to anyone else that football games can be won and lost based on how many time-outs you have? or that the flow at the end of a basketball game is often ruined by the strategy of the losing team fouling incessantly?)

but, if we’re going to cite useless, unnecessary information in defense of our various sports, i would like to note that the NHL sponsors jeopardy. i am not kidding. check the credits at the end of the show. name another sport that would do something like that. and reading a book to a classroom of kids only when a camera crew is around isn’t really a “committment to education,” despite NFL and NBA propaganda. i will refrain from making a joke here about athletes and illiteracy. just this once.

hockey.jpg

so that’s my useless, irrelevant argument for this time, doug. hockey is better because hockey players are smarter. good luck refuting it. which NCAA sport’s best teams consistently come from ivy league schools? hockey. and lacrosse. oh, and probably chess, too, but i haven’t researched that.

nieuwendyk hoisted the conn smythe trophy for playoff MVP along with the stanley cup in 1999

joe nieuwendyk, who played at cornell in the mid 1980s, won his third stanley cup this spring. a.j. mleczko, angela ruggiero and jennifer botterill, all of harvard, have starred on the US olympic team with goaltender sarah tueting of dartmouth. and there are many, many others. ken dryden left cornell one spring in the early 1970s to join a montreal canadiens team just in time for the playoffs. his spectacular play led them to victory that year, and to a slew of stanley cups in the ’70s.

basketball may have bill bradley (princeton), but that’s it. at least, he’s the only one to make it big in the NBA since plastic was invented…

i don’t want to discount the successes of the NFL’s jay fieldler (dartmouth) or marcellus wiley (columbia), but those guys are insignificant compared to the likes of a nieuwendyk or a dryden. do you know how many roster spots there are on NFL teams? like 400. hockey? 20. a little tougher for the hockey players. gotta be good. and most of the guys on NFL rosters from ivy league schools are linemen. do you know how easy it is to be drafted into the NFL as a lineman? don’t you know someone who has played in the NFL as a lineman? a cousin, friend’s brother, or acquaintaince? yes, you do. because when you’ve got to sign 90 guys who weigh 300+ lbs., it’s hard to be picky. i heard that the arizona cardinals almost signed a japanese sumo wrestler to their roster, but balked at the last minute. they were worried that emmitt smith, in his old age, wouldn’t be able to get around the guy.

okay, i think that’s enough. have i convinced anyone? of anything? do you want to check my facts?

26 Responses to “hockey is better”

  1. britt

    Here Here. There’s a reason why BYU hires tutors for the football team and not for hockey players. Hockey is by far the superior sport.

  2. Doug

    Travis,

    First of all, I admire your shameless attempt to make me post something.

    Second, let me see if I have your two main points right: Hockey is better than other sports (in particular football and basketball) because (a) hockey players are smarter, or at least attend better universities, and (b) a hockey roster has a smaller roster than an NFL team.

    Let us examine the argument…

    Point A: Hockey is better because hockey players are (1a) smarter, or (2a) at least they attend better colleges.

    (1a) Puh-lease. Who cares if Hockey players score higher on the SAT, ACT, or IQ tests? This has nothing to do with sport or athletics. You know this. So it befuddles me that you make the argument.

    The relative intelligence of hockey players in comparison with football and basketball is due to the fact that hockey costs $$$ to play. I can’t pick up a hockey stick (more expensive than a basketball or football) and go play with some friends out in the yard or down at the playground. Hockey players come from a higher socio-economic class. This more than explains the higher intelligence (more rigor in the community and at home when it comes to school, etc.), as well as part of the next sub-point you make, about universities.

    (1b) Hockey players have attended superior universities.

    Another bogus argument. We both know if Harvard suddenly started promoting their football or basketball teams like Florida State or UNC it would not change the intelligence of the players or “prove” that football and basketball are as “good” as hockey since “hey look! there are tons of Harvard graduates in the NFL!”

    This argument is especially silly since in the blog entry right above this one you rail against the NY Times…a company that surely employs more ivy league graduates than any sports franchise. Are you willing to accept the conclusion that liberal journalism is therefore better than playing hockey?

    Point B: Hockey is better since they have a smaller roster.

    Basketball has a much smaller roster than hockey. Therefore…?

    Anyways, as I’ve told you before, Travis, this is a futile argument. Why? Because it is NOT AN ARGUMENT! One sport isn’t better than another. In hyperbole: You like hockey better and detest tall black men who are worshipped as gods, yet can’t score 700 on the SAT. I love basketball and wonder why so many people attend boxing matches where the fighters also skate around on ice and score goals.

    What is better, italian food or chinese cuisine? No se puede discutirlo che.

  3. doug, italian food and chinese cuisine are not sports! ha. got you!

  4. oh, and didn’t you notice, i acknowledged my “argument” was “useless and irrelevant,” just like yours about fan base. or did you just pass over that remark because you were day-dreaming that you, too, could one day get it on with kobe and feel his big muscles?

  5. but, doug, you’re right. just because someone gets into an ivy league school, who’s to say he’s smart?

    however, he can probably READ which is definitely a step up over most maryland grads.

    more half-a**’d internet research para ti:

    dartmouth DID finish second in the NCAA final four a couple of times….before naziism was defeated.

    no such ivy luck in baseball…

    before the new deal and social engineering made our athletes illiterate, the ivys made a killing in NCAA football. check out the pre-1950 records. their dominance (iffy term, there–there wasn’t much competition to be dominated) during the leather helmet era makes their modern day futility that much more pronounced.

    but we have on record 7 winners or runners up in the frozen four (hockey) from the ivy league schools since 1965.

    and the bonus is, the hockey players can read the inscription on the trophy!

    what’s my point? i’ve forgotten! i just wish i could get with shawn kemp! he sure is a baller!

  6. richard

    Once again, when hockey becomes even remotely popular south of the artic circle I will consider refuting this.

  7. rich

    “This one time humorous blog has turned dull and mind-numbing.”

    -Dr. Richard Kimball

  8. dr. rich,

    tell your brother to blog once in a while, you liberal ninny, you.

  9. rich

    Another thing… what the heck are the Glenn Reynolds quotes on your page.

  10. glenn reynolds quotes relate to him putting puppies in blenders and laughing. what planet are you from that you do not know about evil white glenn?

    the alliance is strong in opposition

  11. and dr rich,

    did you even read what i wrote? or did you eyes just glaze over (like doug’s do at the thought of being nose-deep in shaquille o’neal’s man-boobs) when you saw the offending title?

    your “south of the arctic circle” delusion was refuted with two paragraphs of hematomous, “mind-numbing” logic, and now you must redevelop that irrelevant (and inacccurate) claim.

    fear the turtle, baby!

  12. Doug

    Travis,

    I dream about Shaq’s “man boobs” (to use your term) as much as you dream about fondling the teethless gums of some hockey players.

    Anyways…as for Ivy League domination of sports “before the defeat of Nazism”, I would posit that it due to that fact that Ivy League schools were the only ones with $$$ to have good sports programs then, since it was also before the NCAA’s mammoth TV and merchandising deals of today. Now a public school like UNC can rake in millions of dollars through their athletic programs (football and basketball primarily).

    This brings me to another thought: How do you feel about welfare for hockey? I doubt that more than a dozen-or-so hockey teams are self-sufficient in the NCAA (I could be wrong, feel free to correct me). I’m sure a few pull their own weight, just as a couple girls field hockey teams may, but by and large hockey as a college sport is ON THE DOLE. And who is providing the money to subsidize them? Hmmm….

    🙂

  13. Kerri

    Thanks to Joni, hockey is now in the top two of my favorite sports, right along with basketball. I will not say which takes first place in my heart… it’s like choosing between Travis and Doug, I just don’t think I can do it.

  14. “by and large hockey as a college sport is ON THE DOLE”

    doug, i will correct you. you just made a completely unfounded and utterly false claim. you give us no facts to support it. hockey is very popular at the 60 or so D-1 hockey schools. [a list here] last year michigan and michigan state played each other in a football stadium, drawing 74,554 fans [source]. ice hockey is as popular at hockey schools as football or basketball are at their respective schools. that’s why people call hockey one of the “big 4” (hockey, baseball, basketball, football). IT’S POPULAR, TOO. you have never been on the campus of a hockey school, so don’t make claims you won’t and can’t support.

    there is no need for hockey welfare. but welfare is likely needed for the numberless athletes (in basketball and football especially)who “graduate” from college (illiterate) but don’t make the pros. (i may be wrong, feel free to correct me) i would say these used and discarded souls are more likely to be ON THE DOLE than an exciting college sporting event at which beer ($$) is sold.

  15. Doug

    Travis,

    Let me get this right… You believe that as a sport college hockey is not on the dole. Right?

    I’m honestly not sure whether I should continue this argument (over the hockey welfare issue), or just let it be. But letting it be would not be in my nature…

    I must say that your line about “there is no need for hockey welfare” is riddled with irony. Aren’t the IceCats asking for money from BYU?

    But I digress. The article you cite is interesting, 74,554 fans is a lot. Given the newly discovered money making potential of hockey, the economist in me wonders: Why hasn’t “a hockey school” tried holding such hugely profitable games every week since 2001?

    The point is, Travis, denying the obvious only reduces your ability to blog on more important topics (since I never do…sorry…).

    Anyways, I hope that the IceCats get BYU to wake up and realize that it is a popular sport on campus. But the fact remains that college hockey will remain largely a subsidized sport (just as you and I are hoping it will be at BYU) until the fan base is much, much, much bigger.

    So don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that “welfare” for college hockey is intrinsically right or wrong, although YOU seem to be so against the very idea of welfare that I’m guessing you believe it is wrong. What I am saying is that college hockey welfare just IS. To deny such is folly. Much like denying that welfare doesn’t exist for irresponsible college football and basketball players (or hockey players for that matter) who never go to class.

  16. doug, soccer is the most popular sport across the globe. in sheer fan numbers, it dwarfs basketball, football, hockey, tennis, …(and heck, even pissing for distance) by literally billions of spectators. but at BYU, it, too, is a sport “on the dole.”

    so soccer is clearly worse than basketball and football, in your view.

    but wait! it has a higher fan base. according to your view, it’s better!

    wait, i’m all mixed up now! you’ve got to stop looking to BYU for your standard of judgment. the way things are at BYU is not the way things are everywhere, hermano.

    brigham young university suppresses ice hockey by denying the team use of the school name, mascot and moniker, and (most costly to a hockey team) USE OF FACILITIES ($$$), and refuses to give official recognition of the team at any level. without such dastardliness from up top, the provo icecats would not be asking for money. and few other teams have to. but even if they did, the hockey players graduate, obtain gainful employment, and become alumni donors to their alma maters. what about those exploited basketball and football players who were too busy making their schools rich to learn to read, then get passed over in the draft? i bet they give a lot back. welfare checks are pretty generous nowadays…

  17. rich

    As for those 74,000 fans… were most of them penguins?

  18. Ed Gantt

    No, most of them were Penguins fans!!!

    Ciao!

    Edmo

  19. Ed Gantt

    Hi!

    By the way, as the Faculty Advisor, one-time owner, and one of the current Assistant Coaches of the IceCats, I think I am qualified to address the hockey welfare issue at BYU. We would love to have some money flow into our coffers from the nice folks in the cushy offices at the north of campus. That doesn’t mean, however, that we are seeking their cash to make or keep our program viable. We can do (and have done) that all on our own.

    Our players are all BYU students, our staff are either currently BYU faculty and staff or BYU alumni. Our standards are in keeping with those of the university and the LDS Church. All we’d really like for Christmas is some official recognition. They can keep all their money. We’d just like to be able to call ourselves the BYU IceCats (or Cougars) and get on with more formally representing the university.

    Sure, using the BYU name might help raise some money for the team, but even if it didn’t it wouldn’t bother us. The money is not the issue. Student athletes having the opportunity to represent the school they love is. Not to take anything away from handball enthusiasts — I’m glad they have the opportunity to represent the school they love as well — but its unbelievable that BYU sponsors co-ed handball and not hockey.

    There’s more I could rant about, but that’s enough for now.

    Ciao!

    Ed Gantt

    P.S. Hockey is the superior sport for two principal reasons: (1) it combines — in an enhanced fashion — just about everything important in so many other sports (e.g., it involves hitting objects with sticks as in baseball, it involves hitting bodies as in football, it involves scoring by putting something in a net as in basketball and soccer, it involves toughness and physical courage as in boxing, it involves the risk of getting cut by sharp objects as in fencing, it involves the risk of high-speed collisions as in auto racing, and so forth), and (2) God said so! And, if you don’t believe me about the second reason, just ask Him yourself. Any answer other than “yes” is obviously from Satan. 🙂

  20. rich

    Okay, wow man. I would have to agree that you guys should be recognized by the school. What are there reasons for not doing so? And also, concerning hockey being superior, puhhleeease. You mention several sports that it “combines” none of which it is that close to. You aren’t going 200mph, like NASCAR. You aren’t hitting something in the air that’s going 90mph, like Baseball. You aren’t getting hit by LaVar Arrington, like Football, it’s someone who’s strong, but NFL/NCAA strong. It’s absolutely nothing like basketball, except, yes there is a net. It’s kind of like soccer on ice, but it’s not. I will say it does take some physical toughness, you can get cut, so it’s like fencing I guess. But when you really get down to it, it’s just hockey. Just like basketball it just basketball. You like what you like and it all depends on your opinion.

  21. Ed Gantt

    Hi!

    Okay, so I wasn’t being entirely serious with the whole “hockey combines all the good sports” schtick. You’re right, nobody on the ice is going 200 mph like in NASCAR. They are usually going about 30 mph, however, and all without seatbelts and saftey straps and an iron cage surrounding them for protection. (Not that any of that makes much difference when you crash going 200 mph.)

    As for not hitting anything going 90 mph . . . well, most decent shots in hockey are going around 90 mph, some well over a 100 mph. Guys standing in front of the net routinely hit those pucks coming in high or low at 90-100 mph so that they will redirect into an upper or corner portion of the net. The hand-eye coordination required is not all that dissimilar from what is required in baseball — may by even more developed because of the smaller size and unpredictability of the puck, not to mention that the distances being covered are usually much smaller than the distance from the mound to the plate in baseball, and the space between the shooter and the redirecter is always far more chaotic than anything you find in baseball. I’d love to see Barry Bonds try to get a hit, much less a homerun, if some guy from the other team were standing behind him, tugging at his bat and checking him in the back. (Don’t get me wrong, I have great respect for hitters in baseball — I just think that hockey players, especially goalies, have to have reflexes just as refined and sharp, if not more so.)

    I will admit that getting hit by Lavar Arrington is not going to be fun. Football does have some pretty big boys and the hits are almost always thunderous. However, hockey has its share of big boys as well and I’m pretty sure that Arrington never nailed anyone head-on while he and the target were both going 30 mph. People have been known to die in head-on car collisions at that speed!

    As for being absolutely nothing like basketball — except for the net — well . . . there are more similarities than you might think. Both BB and hockey revolve around five guys creatively working together to beat five other guys who are either using a zone or a man-to-man coverage scheme. Both games are essentially back-and-forth games in which deception through motion and quick passing to the open man is key to scoring.

    As for BYU’s reticence to officially recognize the IceCats. . . well, that’s a long and sordid tale. There are layers of redtape and petty officials involved. Not to mention some (now ancient) bad history, narrow-minds, and petty politics involved. We’re making progress, but the current climate is a tough one.

    Ciao!

    Ed Gantt

  22. Amy

    Well, I must say that reading everyone’s comments has been more than entertaining. You were right, Travis, it was a good idea to visit your website today and read this blog. It is good to see Doug finally posted something—he posts on the blog as much as football players attend their classes. Poor Rich, trying to be the peacemaker with his comments about ‘whatever you like is what’s best for you’. I must say, however, that if Doug didn’t insist on putting down hockey next to basketball and football, we wouldn’t be having this discussion. He is trying, like a Jehovah’s Witness missionary, to refute with energy, the obvious truth. My useless, irrelevant argument is that although everyone is happy and content with the sport they have chosen, you have to admit that hockey players are probably the most well-rounded people out there. I say people because what sets them apart is what they do not only on the ice as athletes, but OFF the ice as people.

    The only news I have heard lately about football players involves arrests for drugs and assault charges for hitting coaches. Let’s see . . . basketball. The two news stories I think of off the top of my head are regarding Kobe Bryant and his current legal troubles, and (since it was brought up earlier) Magic Johnson and his magic stick. In contrast, when you read about hockey players, you read about players like Steve Yzerman, who offered to renegotiate his contract salary because he knew his franchise couldn’t afford to sign another player they really wanted, or about Syl Apps who worked hard to develop a charity in his hometown for low-income teenagers. OK, OK, granted, there are a few athletes who donate their kidneys and things like that, but since we are all giving useless, unnecessary information in defense of our various sporting interests, I must stick the examples above. You don’t read about hockey players in the “papes” like you read about athletes in other sports. Why? Because they have character—that is what makes hockey players so great. They have athleticism, intelligence, AND character.

    Next, if anything is on the dole, it is Doug trying to make something of the popularity argument. In many states, including Vermont where my brother lives, the basketball team is as popular as a bathroom stall where the toilet hasn’t been flushed, and they don’t sponsor a football team AT ALL. No, it is only hockey, hockey, and uh . . . more hockey. I think Vermont is south of the arctic circle along with those other 60 or so D-I hockey schools.

    My two cents for the welfare ditty is this: that at least most hockey players can support themselves after they retire from their sport because they received a good education. Players like Kobe Bryant and Lebron James must mark “High School Graduate” as highest education received on all their applications for jobs. Look at the guys—Kobe is already facing conviction for sexual crimes, and LeBron is quickly heading for serious trouble. He’s already had a two-game suspension with a main course of ineligibility threats. His career may end up in a doggy bag real soon. College? His profile reads: “Unlikely” How’s that for role model?

    Welfare for athletics just is. Look at all the athletic facilities, championships, and prestigious awards. Whose name do they bear? Not a team name, and, for the most part, not a school name. They bear the names of those who have donated $$$ to athletics. Athletic teams don’t bring in sufficient funds anywhere, especially on the collegiate level. All athletic teams, as far as I can tell, are on welfare. Wealthy and successful businesses and business men and women provide welfare for most, if not all, athletic teams. As long as we are using BYU examples, I’ll give you two: Larry H. Miller Field, Marriott Center.

    Doug, as much as I love ya, I do have to say that I have much more respect for hockey players than athletes in any other sport. They have earned it, and that makes them the coolest.

  23. rich

    Alright, next time any hockey player gets a $90 million endorsement we can chat about this.

  24. rich

    A thought occurred to me today. Football’s revenue funds a lot. And basketball also funds some too. Hockey? Well, maybe in Canada. But overall Football funds quite a lot on campuses throughout the country. So who does more good? Interesting I thought. But still I say, each to his (and her) own.

  25. reilly

    wow, its amazing how many people think basetkball is better over hockey. basektball is for those who cant take the rough sports and prefer being tapped on the back to be a foul over a close elbow to the head as a controversal penelty. another reason hockey is better is because its not that easy to score and when we do, its a lot more exciting. whats so exciting about a 3 pointer to make the score 37-23 in the second quarter? what about a slap shot frmo the blue line to make it 3-1? the crowd erupts as it is a crucial goal thorughout the game and everyone actually remeber who scored it. another reason, the people stay through the whole game knwoing that the score can be tied, lost, and win. not like in basketball with at least 6 minutes left and the score 90-70, the place is empty. and the last couple minutes doesnt take a half an hour to be played, and its more exciitng everyone on there feet, cheering each check each rush into the zone and explodes if a goal is scored or a great save. no way in hell is basekt, the sport for those who are afriad of pain, even close to being as good as hockey, the true sport.

  26. I did a search for talk about sports as I am looking for information on where Halifax Mooseheads players lived and the history about them and their culture. We have and have had hockey players from all over the world play with the local hockey team here in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. I am researching anyone who has played in the past and the present for the Halifax Mooseheads hockey team. As I was web surfing, going from one topic to the next I came upon your website as I was looking for hockey blogs, as I thought about creating a blog on the Halifax Mooseheads hockey team. Anyways I read your blog to see if you had any information on how to operate a blog.
    I will be back to see if you add anything new that might help me.
    Good luck with your website.
    Take care and God Bless
    Steve , A Halifax Mooseheads Hockey Fan