The pampered state of hockey

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If Minnesota really is “The State of Hockey,” then anyone who watched yesterday’s outdoors hockey game in Buffalo between Pittsburgh and the Sabres, spent most of the time up to their garter belts in memories (yeah, hockey players wear garter belts).

There was a time when this was the way hockey was played — outdoors, on ponds, in snow, and with additional rules (any puck that drops in open water is automatic icing) and odd equipment (we used comic books taped underneath our pants as shin guards).

They were the best of times. And yet, a line in today’s Associated Press story on the game jumped off the page as if to scream “this is what’s wrong with hockey!”


Playing at the home of the NFL’s Buffalo Bills and in elements way more suited for football than hockey, Crosby won the NHL’s second outdoor game — and first in the United States — in dramatic fashion.

Oh dear. More suited for football than hockey???? Hockey isn’t a winter sport anymore? The real snow warriors are football players now?

This is what indoor hockey, Zamboni machines, warm dressing rooms, and youth hockey leagues have given us. Minnesota, save yourselves while you still can.

Bring back the open water icing rule and comic-book kneepads!

(Photo: Dave Sandford, Getty Images)

  • Cassandra

    “If Minnesota really is “The State of Hockey,” then anyone who watched yesterday’s outdoors hockey game in Buffalo between Pittsburgh and the Sabres, spent most of the time in memories up to their garter belts (yeah, hockey players where garter belts).”

    Where? Or Wear?

  • Bob Collins

    See the socks in the picture above. And the black pants. Those are two separate pieces of equipment. So there’s a garter belt (around the guy’s waist), with holders front and back down to the socks.

    Players put tape around the socks, too, but that’s to keep the shin pads from moving.

    When it gets REALLY embarrassing is when the garter comes undone and your socks fall down and you’re not wearing any long underwear.

    Not that I’d know that, of course.

  • bsimon

    bob, I think Cassandra was editing the following:

    “yeah, hockey players where garter belts”

    Anyone attending the Nat’l Pond Hockey tourney? This event is rapidly growing into a big event.

    (Bob notes; Yeah, i fixed that. I think we should put a News Cut pond hockey team together, btw. Although I don’t know wear — get it? — I put my garter belt.)

  • c

    Hey Bob-

    I thought that my brothers were the only kids on the planet who used Reader’s Digest for shin pads! -So this was a common thing back in the late 60’s early 70’s-(I thought my folks were just cruel)

    Hope you guys at the Current do form that Broomball/pond hockey team…..isn’t Woodury full of pond’s?

  • Jon

    I don’t get what you want to happen. Open roof on the Xcel? Just poking fun at the State of Hockey? There are still many people that play hockey the way you describe. You just want the pros to do that now?