Craig Finn, the lead singer of indie rock band The Hold Steady, once tweeted "I feel like hockey believes in magic more than other big sports." While we're not here to debate the existence of magic, it's a fun little sentence that I often point to whenever people ask why I love hockey so much.
It's just... fun. It's fast and skillful and played by gigantic supermen who can skate and fire pucks through brick walls, and goalies who turn themselves into something stronger than brick walls to stop them. It contains a pure emotion unlike anything I've ever seen. There's overtime winners and dangles and dekes and slapshots and heavy hits and play-by-play announcers screaming their lungs out because something amazing happened. When everything is right, hockey is The Best and I would put that version of hockey up against any other sport.
However, there's a problem with hockey, a really big one. A segment of the fan base doesn't see things that way. Oh yes, they believe hockey is the best sport just like I do. However, they see hockey as the best sport for precisely the reasons I think drag it down.
Now, this is not a fighting debate, though I feel fighting (beyond the pushing and shoving at the end of a play) is pointless and drags a good game down. This is about a certain segment of the hockey fan base that wants this sport played by robots, preferably from Ontario, that refuse to show emotion and simply get by on phony words like "grit" and "toughness." If you ask this hockey fan who their favorite player of all time is, it's probably some nonsense like Cal Clutterbuck (all due respect to Cal Clutterbuck).
This debate has been annoyingly stoked yet again in the wake of PK Subban's overtime winning goal over the Senators on Thursday.