If there is any type of athlete that’s easy to be or be with, the answer is unanimous: hockey players. They’re seemingly regular people who are down to earth and humble, but with super-human athleticism. They aren’t out for fame or fortune. (Okay, they are out for fortune, but who isn’t?) They simply play for the love of the game and return to their normal (for professional athletes) lives outside of the sport. They aren’t LeBron bitching about ticky-tack fouls or Chris Sale cutting his jersey into a million pieces because he doesn’t like the way it feels. They aren’t Tiger Woods making the cover of (literally) every tabloid magazine. They’re simply the best and here are 15 reasons why.
Most hockey players are either Canadian, have played in Canada, or are heavily influenced by their Canadian teammates. Same goes for most coaches, refs, and announcers. Canadian culture seeps into the sport like a generous helping of (Quebec-made) maple syrup into a short stack of fresh pancakes. And since Canadians are pretty much the nicest, chillest, most humble people on Earth, the same can be said for hockey players in general.
14. Girls Love Them
Ask any girl under the sun which athlete is the best husband material and it’s not even close. Hockey players are the trophies every woman wants to bring home and introduce to their family. They’re polite, down to earth,
and really really rich, and really really handsome and have great personalities. They also know how to dress. Speaking of which…
13. They All Look Like GQ Models
Somewhere along the way, NHL players left business casual in the dustbin of history (where it belongs) and stepped up their suit games. The change was for the better. They don’t look douchey or pretentious; just good. They also managed to do it while remaining relatable. Except for Henrik Lundquist (far right) – he’s a fashion god and someone you definitely don’t want to introduce to your girlfriend.
12. They Acknowledge Fans
Athletes like LeBron James and Tom Brady never interact with fans during games because what they’re doing is “really important” and they have to
deflate footballs to gain a competitive advantage “focus.” Hockey players, on the other hand, have no problem engaging with the crowd through the plexiglass. Whether you’re a young kid, teenage girl, or just an average fan, hockey players check their ego at the door and acknowledge your existence because at the end of the day, they understand that the fans are the most important part of the game.
11. They Have A Sense of Humor
How often do you see football players laughing it up on the field? I know. Not often. Meanwhile, hockey players make sure not to forget their sense of humor when on the ice. After all, they’re playing a game and not “going to war” (cough cough Kellen Winslow). It’s rare to see grown men go from annihilating each other physically to slapping knees all in the same shift.
10. They Aren’t Idiots
Every year, there are more sightings of the Loch Ness Monster than hockey players looking like idiots (unless your name is Brad Marchand). It’s rare to hear about a hockey player “ending up at 1 Oak” the night before/after a game and getting into a fight. It just doesn’t happen. There’s never a press conference about a hockey player getting caught hoarding assault weapons in their ten million dollar suburban mansion, protecting themselves from all the surrounding evil housewives. You never hear about them being idiots. You just don’t. Plus, many have a keen sense of astrophysics.
9. They’re The Best Shit Talkers
There’s bickering, there’s shit talking, and then there’s hockey trash talk. Hockey players have their own language of chirping one another. It’s jargon that has grown so sophisticated over the decades, one can only be fluent in it by playing the game. It’s casual with a lot of bite. It’s not “fuck you, pussy” or “your mom’s fat.” It’s an art form, maybe the true art of the game, and they are the artists.
8. They’re Stupid Tough
It’s an age old sports argument: “Who are the toughest athletes?” And frankly, it’s not even close. Anyone who tries to say it’s not hockey players eliminate themselves from any further sports argument, ever. Hockey players kick the crap out of each other for 60 minutes a game a minimum of 82 times a year, and rarely miss a period, never mind a game. Boxers could be a close second, but they’re only putting themselves on the line once or twice a year. Hockey players are doing it a few times a week. They are the iron men of sports.
7. They Don’t Get Injured
Hockey players simply don’t get injured. If they do, you’re sure as hell not hearing about it unless it’s physically impossible for them to move. If Odell Beckham Jr. or Tiger Woods gets hurt, you’re going to hear about it every day leading up to the event, and they probably won’t play. Hockey players do not get injured, and certainly don’t talk about it if they do. They take that shit with them to the grave. Literally. Like when Rich Peverley died on the bench, was brought back to life, and then allegedly asked to go back in the game. Tell that to the next pitcher who goes on the DL with a hang nail.
6. They Don’t Make Their Bullshit Public
Whatever hockey players are dealing with off the ice or within the locker room, you’ll seldom hear about it. They are masters at dodging questions and giving generic answers, which leads to some of the most boring interviews the world of sports has to offer. You’ll never hear about their personal feuds, or who is having sex with whose wife, or who thinks who should be traded. All you hear is how they “need to get the puck deep” and how they “have to keep grinding, eh.”
5. They Do Crazy Stuff With The Stanley Cup
If the importance of championship trophies was measured by how well teams partied with said trophy, the Stanley Cup would easily be the most coveted hardware in sports. Many say Lord Stanley holds the world’s secrets as well as the NHL’s. The exuberance of winning the cup is so great that players will drive with it, drink out of it, and even sleep with it. It’s a forgone conclusion that the Stanley Cup is an orgy guy.
4. They’re Relatable
People love hockey players because they’re so relatable. Many are not physical specimens and are just average guys with insane athleticism. They aren’t 6’5″, 280 or 6’10” with a 40-inch vertical. They’re just blue-collar, run of the mill guys who can move stupid fast on the ice and have ridiculous hand eye coordination. Hockey players just want to be regular dudes wherever they are. Tavares and Crosby out at a bar just look like normal guys who are there for the same reasons anyone else. Except that they’re legends at their profession with millions of dollars, but you get the point.
3. They Can Fight
Unlike Odell Beckham Jr. and Josh Norman, hockey players can really fight. They aren’t cheap shot-ing and grabbing face masks. They take off the helmet, drop the gloves, acknowledge the fight, and brawl like men. Do they hate each other after? Yeah, they do, like any red blooded human. But most NHL fights end with grace and dignity. Hockey players settle disputes with their fists on the ice. Not with their fingers on Twitter.
2. They Crush Beers
This is more of an assumption but you can pretty much print it. I mean c’mon. Blue-collar grinders who love sports fighting each other and wearing flip-flops with cargo shorts? First ballot Hall of Fame beer drinker, if you ask me. To think Phil Kessel doesn’t start off every pre-game routine with a 12-pack of Bud Heavy is asinine. Just look at Tyler Johnson of the Tampa Bay Lightning sneaking in a couple BL’s in between shifts.
1. The Lettuce
Immaculate hair. Need I say more?