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Why hockey players are better than other athletes

May 19, 2010

I’m not even going to get on the topic of grit, tenacity, speed, or any of the PHYSICAL aspects of the game, because those are all up for debate. I’m going to talk about the players.
I’ll start with mentioning that hockey players are indeed some of the toughest nuts out there. Take one of my personal heroes, Ian Laperriere. (watch this video here. It’s a tad long, but VERY good). Ian is a tough player, not a large one, comparatively, but always willing to stand up for his teammates. In 2009, while killing a penalty (possibly the hardest and toughest thing to do for a skater) he blocks a shot(also very tough), as per usual. What was not usual was the fact that it hit him square in the mouth. He lost seven teeth, had to get somewhere between 50 and 100 stitches, and then came out to play in that same game. I want to see any basketball player, even football player, to come back in a week after HALF of those, let alone the SAME night.
Men are able to separate what they want to do and what they have to do. Quoted as saying that he “want[s] to be the best human being [he] can be. On the ice, it’s a game, a job. Off the ice, [he] can be whoever [he] want[s] to be, and who [he] want[s] to be is the best person…” That’s saying something. Do your job, but make sure you’re who you want your children to be, the man your parents (Ian’s dad passed from pancreatic cancer not all too long ago) wanted you to be.
Take these two, Kelly Chase and Rob Ray. Two of the meanest SOBs you’d ever run across (they even ran across each other) but two of the nicest men off the ice, too. I’ve personally held conversations with Mr. Chase, and he’s a very eloquent and thoughtful man, starting his own charity organization pertaining to children with developmental disabilities, and Rob is involved in just a myriad of charity organizations, mostly with children’s medical care.
These are just a few examples, but overall, hockey players are the most philanthropic of all major sports, but make much less.
I think it comes from their roots. Most NBA and NFL players come from the inner cities, where they have to take all they can get to get by.On the contrary, hockey players mostly come from rural Canada (although with the change in the dynamics of the game, that’s been shifting, as well. As anyone near the game can see, skills taken from clinics, coaches, and camps have beaten out what one could practice and learn on his or her own [say, on a backyard surface, or a frozen pond]). Values are upheld strongly there (not saying they’re not in other places, in other households, just as much there). Work ethic and pride are huge. When you’re raised in a strong, firm household, you’ll end up a better man than otherwise. Strong, rural values seem lost on people who never grew up with them, for the most part, and that’s why we dont have as many Lappies, Chasers, or Rayzors out there, and THAT’s a damned shame. A real damned shame

Here’s to tomorrow

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