For all the bad things in the NHL, the schedule, the T.V. contract, and the not so great promotion of the league, we can rest assured that we have one great aspect; great players who are also great people. Hockey players are some of the most respected athletes on the planet. Out of all major pro sports you can still see the kids in the NHL players. The chance to lift Lord Stanley's Cup over head is much more important than how much money you can make doing it, for most players. The NHL's low profile is in part due to the low amount of drama with the players off the ice. In other pro sports, the player's personal lives are bigger than the roles they play on the field of competition. We just do not find that much in hockey. The NBA has been pretty clean as of late and the league has done a good job of cracking down on players who think they are above the law. The Major League Baseball steroid scandal is just getting out of control. Everyone knows who has used and they need to adopt a stiff policy and stick to it no matter how high or low a profile the player has who is caught breaking it.
Violence once again rang out in the NFL this week. Sean Taylor of the Washington Redskins was shot Monday night in what police seem to be calling a robbery gone bad. Taylor was at home with his one year old child when he was shot by an intruder in his bedroom. Sean Taylor died Tuesday morning. This was not a botched robbery, a coincidence, or a freak accident. I along with many others out there believe Taylor was targeted. The NFL has found itself under a ton of scrutiny in the past years for not cracking down on players harder. Drugs, crime, and gangs have found away into disrupting a league that is made up of world class athletes. Player's pasts have followed them from their old neighborhoods to their new ones.
We hear stories everyday about players turning their lives around and leaving their pasts behind them, but you never really can completely leave some pasts behind. It is something that has to be addressed at a much lower level. Some kids just have bad childhoods and grow up in bad neighborhoods, and they get started on the wrong foot. When there is no guidance at home it does not matter how much a coach or councilor does to help guide a kid. When that kid leaves school or the practice field it is up to he or she to be a good person. In my opinion every professional athlete should have to spend a minimum of two years at the college level no matter what sport. Players need to be educated while in college on how to deal with the routines of being an athlete at such an elite level. That's right I said it, forget about math, science, and the other subjects. If a person is a talented athlete and is going to make a living playing a pro sport, they should be educated on how to handle the pressures of being a multi millionaire athlete, not what is behind the process of splitting atoms.
Pro sports have become such a huge money making business that the leagues, owners, and upper management will do anything to make sure their star player is able to play on gameday no matter who they shot or assaulted the night before. This is an absolute disgrace to the games we as fans all support with our hard earned money and faith that our team will someday win the grand prize. Players no longer have to live by the policy that it is a privilege to play at this level and make the money they make doing it. The consequences for their illegal actions are not stiff enough, by any stretch of the imagination.
Being this is a hockey website I will try to get back to hockey. Hockey has one of the most coveted prizes in all pro sports, Lord Stanley's Cup. When you win a World Series, or SuperBowl, you are not hoisting a trophy that all the great players before you once held. The Stanley Cup has seen more places and people than any other trophy in the world. When people see it in person they are mesmerized. Playing for something like that is more than enough to keep most players out of trouble and striving to be the best they can be, to reach that goal. In Hockey it is still about winning that prize, where in other sports it seems to have strayed away from the winning part and getting paid first is priority. There's no I in team in the NHL. Players always address the media as a representative of a team not as an individual. No one is above the next guy on the team, and players treat each other respectfully. You never hear of drama like Barry Bonds and Jeff Kent, Kobe and Shaq, or T.O. and Donovan McNabb. Here in the NHL that stuff is either well hidden behind the scenes or just does not yet exist.
So how bad is our sport? Sure it could use a better T.V. contract here in the states, but we do at least have Center Ice as an option. Sure the game can be better marketed, but how, there is no crazy drama going on to grab the American peoples interest. Sure the schedule needs to be changed, but at least we have a schedule. As long as there is a league, true fans will find a way to watch, and that is all that matters. Sure it would be nice to see Jagr and Crosby light the lamp in San Jose a few times a year, as long as we come out on the winning end. I would love to be able to see Broduer play in person a few times a season, only having the chance to watch him play once in my life. Hopefully that all will become reality.
All in all, the league is good. It is the reason I write. Too much attention and money will eventually turn it into a circus act like other pro sports, so let's enjoy it while it is still a game geared towards winning the grand prize and not making the big dough. Be proud of the players for all the class they show and the role models they are for our youth. Just enjoy hockey for all that it is. We don’t want the media attention if it has to be for negative reasons. The game should be in the spotlight for the simple fact that it is one of the cleanest sports, when it comes to the players, in the world.
Hockey is our sport. Hockey is our passion. Hockey is our life. Live it.
Thanks for reading and have a great day! GO SHARKS !