Friday, January 7, 2011

The End of the Road

Photo by Getty Images

"Hockey won't sit still to give you a better look. You wouldn't want it to anyways. It's the action that makes the possibilities endless. The next practice, the next city, & the next game await."

My thoughts as the credits of Part 4 of HBO's Road to the Winter Classic rolled? Pardon my French, but my thought was "Hockey is f**king beautiful". And that pretty much sums it up. HBO gave unprecedented access inside the workings of not only the Winter Classic but every single game and practice. From the top of the organization to the equipment guys to the trainers room. It was revealing and brutal and funny and breathtaking. All at once. And my team wasn't even involved in the program.

I have had a lot of my non-hockey friends talking to me about this show since it began. Some friends had gotten away from hockey, but watching this and more games had reminded them exactly how much they love the sport. They are coming back to it. I don't know if the Winter Classic or the HBO special will win over droves of brand new fans. I don't think it will and I'm not entirely sure that was the point.

To me, the show was a love letter to the sport of hockey. By revealing and reveling in it's speed, skill, and ritual I know I fell a little more in love. Which I didn't think was possible. I was really smitten as it was. I hope the league does this again. They have to. It was brilliant. Imagine a show like this focusing on the Stanley Cup playoffs. Or the Olympics. Or in the final weeks of the season when teams are fighting for position in the post season. The term warrior is thrown around a lot in sports. Hockey players ARE true warriors and they were very compelling to watch. Unpretentious. There to do their job, whether it's to score goals or to drop the gloves.

In the final moments of the show, Muse's Exogenesis: Symphony Part 3 swelled. And my eyes welled up a little. Because hockey is f**king beautiful. I have more than my fair share of issues with the league, but this show was a great decision to make. Please give us more soon.

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