SMEDLEY: While I've never given the NHL a try, maybe it's about time I should

The Tampa Bay Lightning know returning home to Amalie Arena on Sunday for Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final is no guarantee of success. (Luis Santana/Tampa Bay Times/TNS)
The Tampa Bay Lightning know returning home to Amalie Arena on Sunday for Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final is no guarantee of success. (Luis Santana/Tampa Bay Times/TNS)

Kyle Smedley is a journalism and telecommunications major and writes for The Daily News. His views do not necessarily reflect those of the newspaper.

I love sports. Whether that be professional, collegiate, high school or otherwise, I love sports. 

I’ve been to and watched countless baseball, basketball and football games at all levels. Those make up three of the four major American sports, with the fourth being ice hockey. 

Full disclosure, as much as I love and watch sports, I have never watched a full game of ice hockey. 

It may just be the fact that I was raised in families that never talk about or watch ice hockey either, but the fact remains. After 19 years on Earth and almost one full year of being a sports journalist, I’ve never watched a full game of ice hockey. 

I’ve heard from a handful of my acquaintances that ice hockey, particularly the National Hockey League (NHL), is, in fact, quite entertaining. As the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs took place throughout June, more and more of my friends mentioned this to me, leading me to a question. 

Why haven’t I given ice hockey a try? 

While not many of my friends or family watch, making it harder to become invested, that’s no excuse. None of my close friends or family watch professional wrestling and it is indisputably my favorite form of entertainment.

Even without a franchise to immediately invest in, as the years go by I feel I ought to at least sample the NHL. Although they don’t have as many fans as the National Football League (NFL), the National Basketball Association (NBA) or Major League Baseball (MLB), those who are fans of ice hockey seem to be some of the most dedicated of all sports. 

Just like any other sport, there are those who prefer ice hockey to anything else. Just like so many are die-hard Chicago Bears fans for the NFL, there are die-hard Detroit Red-Wings fans, die-hard Pittsburgh Penguins fans or die-hard Toronto Maple Leaf fans for the NHL. 

It doesn’t even have to be the NHL. My girlfriend attended a Fort Wayne Komets game earlier this year, and went on and on about how much fun she had. 

She enjoyed the atmosphere, the fan participation and the game itself. Now, she wants me to take her to an ice hockey game soon. 

Maybe that will be my first exposure to hockey. And what isn’t to like? With fights, major crowd investment, a rich history and so much more, ice hockey sounds like it would be right up my alley. 

Perhaps the most recent Stanley Cup Playoffs that culminated June 26, as the Colorado Avalanche defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning four games to two in the Stanley Cup Finals, was my window. Now, I’ll have to wait until October to see if this will be the year I finally try the NHL. 

However, it’s not all my fault that I haven’t ever given ice hockey a try and a lot of that comes down to marketing. I understand it’s not all up to the NHL as to how much they advertise, but I hardly ever see anything about ice hockey. 

During the Stanley Cup Finals or Playoffs I will occasionally see coverage from the media and a few commercials on television, but not enough to catch my full attention. Thinking about the NFL, NBA or even MLB to an extent, the NHL doesn’t get nearly as much media coverage as the other three in the big four of American sports. 

If I saw as much media coverage surrounding the NHL, I certainly would have at least checked it out by now. Due to that and my lack of people around me who watch it, my knowledge and interest for ice hockey is shockingly low. 

While I have no prior knowledge or history with the NHL or ice hockey in general, and no one else around me seems interested, giving it a try could reap major benefits. Maybe, I’ll attach to a team and begin to follow the NHL closer than I do another major sport. 

Maybe, if/when I go to a game with my girlfriend, I’ll have as much fun as she does and want to watch more and more ice hockey. 

That said, I want to give it a try. In fact, I’ll be sure to watch at least one game during the 2022-23 season. 

The year I finally give a popular and seemingly exciting sport a chance. 

Contact Kyle Smedley with comments via email at or on Twitter @smedley1932.


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