I love hockey. I always have. When I was a kid I used to lie on my parents bed watching hockey on the ‘second' television while the rest of the family watched the ‘Big' TV in the den. I grew up a New York Ranger fan in the eighties, so basically continually disappointed come playoff time, but still rooting no matter how bad things got. Those were the days long before Messier and Leetch brought Lord Stanley to New York again and though there was no ending glory in those years I always found excitement in the game. My hero was John John Vanbiesbrouck. Along with him being the cause of my first BIG crush he was a spectacular goalie and kept the Rangers in games that they would have never been without him.
That child like excitement seems to bubble up every time I get near a hockey rink, whether it's watching a friend down at the El Segundo rinks or going to a game at the Staples Center here in Los Angeles. I love the strategy of the game as much as the physicality and skill required. No ... I'm not an LA Kings fan even though I'm a transplant of almost 10 years. Still proudly a Broadway Blues fan and totally excited that the Rangers were coming to town this year after the 2007-08 season of no scheduled West Coast games, except to Vancouver.
As a group of 15 gay guys and gals watched from Section 321 I felt a sense of contentment in being a gay man who loves sports. As I watched the Los Angeles Kings outplay the Rangers I enjoyed nachos and conversation with friends. This was the "Second annual Gay Hockey night" that I've organized. I love the fact that I can watch a game that I love with people that I love. Questions were asked as some tried to grasp the rules of the game. My friend Matthew put on his best New York City accent to yell, "Hey, we're trying to watch tha fuckin hockey game here." A good time was had by all.
Surprisingly the game went into overtime. The Rangers were out skated, out shot and thoroughly out played, yet still had a chance to win. Rozsival launched a rocket just past the blue line that cruised over the right shoulder of LaBarbera and into the net at 3:21 of overtime lifting the Rangers to victory. They say great teams always find a way to win. Regardless of a win or loss for New York, I still find myself in a state of joy when I'm at a hockey game. The light chill in the air, the fans cheering, the sound of two players racing for the puck and slamming against the boards. And more than any of that being with my friends and enjoying their company. I love hockey.