Flyer fans, hockey fans mourn loss of season

By Ashley Weyler
November 19, 2004

Shane Evans

After a long day of classes, I come back to my room, do a little homework, go to dinner, do a little more homework and then sit down and watch some television. I flip around to the different channels. Nothing is on. I go to turn on Comcast Sports. An excitement suddenly takes over me. It is soon alleviated by disappointment.

Are you kidding me? Not another sports classic presentation of game seven of the 1984 National Basketball League Championship! I guess I am just so used to flipping on the Flyers game at the end of a long day. For all you readers who are not familiar with Philadelphia or sports, the Flyers are Philadelphia’s hockey team. Call me crazy, but watching a bunch of really cute guys beat the crap out of each other never gets old. Therefore, I miss it terribly!

I have always been a bit of a “girly-girl,” but I have always loved sports, especially hockey. There is never a dull moment. Pucks flying everywhere, a glove-save here, a check into the boards there, bloody noses, broken bones, teeth-less Canadians (and Americans, Czechs, Russians, etc.) and the coveted, “He shoots! He Scores!” You really can’t beat that!

This football season, if you are a Philadelphian and an Eagles fan, has been an exciting season so far. My beloved Eagles haven’t let me down really. Well, with the exception of the loss to the Steelers…but let’s not talk about that. As much as I love the Eagles, there is a big hole in my fall-winter-early spring. Where is my hockey?

Over a dispute of a salary cap, hockey fans are forced to live without hockey. I guess making millions of dollars a year just isn’t enough. What happened to the days when these players were kids, and they paid to play hockey. You don’t pay to play hockey because it’s work. You pay to play because you are passionate about it. You play because you love it! You live and breathe it. You are hockey.

My little brother Kenny, 12 years-old, has been playing hockey since he could walk. I remember him running around with his little Fisher Price hockey set. He aspires to be a professional hockey player someday, not because he knows he will make millions of dollars.

“That kid has more heart than any kid I have ever coached!” Kenny’s hockey coach said to me and my parents after one of his games. The game had just ended when he got really hurt trying to score a goal. He was lying there, in so much pain, asking if his shot went in the net. He begged his coach to put him back in the game. The truth is, Kenny’s arm could have been hanging off, and he still would have asked to be put in the game.

I asked him why he played hockey. It’s violent. It takes a lot of adrenaline, speed and agility. I loved to watch it, but playing was another story. He told me it’s because he is good at it. He loves the competition and the feeling he gets when he scores a goal and when his team wins another game.

That is the kind of heart I think National Hockey League players are missing. The fans, die-hard ones like my little brother, who idolize these greats, are suffering.

Thank God for the American Hockey League. Even if you are not from this area, and are most certainly not a Philadelphia sports fan, the Wachovia Spectrum houses the Philadelphia Phantoms. The tickets are cheap; the most expensive seats cost $19. On Friday nights, with a student ID, tickets are only $7.

Shirts thrown out in the stands, games with prizes, great food and an awesome hockey game are what to be expected. The players in this league play with so much heart that the games are all-out battles. Even four Flyers have decided to play for the Phantoms for the love of the game. If you need a hockey fix, I urge you to check out these games. You won’t regret it.

Of course, when the NHL is back up and running, I will continue to root on my favorite team, the Flyers; however, probably from the comfort of my own home. I won’t be able to afford the tickets. There is no doubt in my mind because of the shortened season and the salary increases, the owners of all NHL teams will be heightening ticket, merchandise and concession prices.

I just wish these players could just remember when they were a 12 year-old kid, like my little brother, and played hockey for something other than money, but for the love of the game.

Posted to the web by Shane Evans

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Ashley Weyler

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