Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Top Twelve: What To Do During the Lockout

On a day when I might be anticipating the advent of the NHL season, I’ve been investigating alternatives. So, in no particular order, I present activities for the would-be, perhaps used-to-be NHL fans who still love hockey (and donuts).

1.     AHL: No Evegeni Malkin or Henrik Lundqvist; no Patrice Bergeron or Brian Campbell. But Ryan Nugent-Hopkins should be fun to watch in Oklahoma City. And in Hershey, PA, Braden Holtby will get plenty of playing time. Closer to home, in Providence, RI, Jordan Caron should shine at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center, where the most expensive tickets are less than forty bucks.
2.     College Hockey: Will Ferris State advance to Frozen Four again? Will the hockey gods allow Northeastern University or Harvard University win a Beanpot Tournament for the first time since 1993? Please? Regardless of the outcomes, I may spend some of my income not on the Ducks vs. Bruins at the Garden but on a Hockey East game TBD.
3.     AMHL: If the college or AHL games are too expensive for you, consider the free admission to (early morning) games. With NHL team names, a few former D-III college players and a brand new interactive Web site, the AMHL is action-packed and embraces new fans with this mantra: “Come for the hockey, stay for the donuts.”
4.     Hockey Books: For a though-provoking read, consider Adam Proteau’s Fighting the Good Fight. And let’s say your kid plays. Whose Puck is It, Anyway? should also make you think about the best way to conduct youth hockey organizations.
5.     Hockey Name Games: Who are your favorite hockey players? No need to tell me. Contact “the Rick” at Honey Pot Hill Orchards in Stow, MA. He mans the information booth off Sudbury Road, and besides directing visitors to the Courtland and Spartan apples, he’ll also spellbind you with his rapid reverse engineering of any player’s name.
6.     Cider Donuts: While you’re at Honey Pot Hill, you must smell the donut batter. Follow your nose and stop smack dab in the middle of the donut haze generated from the farm store/donut factory. Then go eat one of these golden and delicious gems…or half a dozen. 
7.     Don Cherry: Whether you love “Grapes” or loathe him—or both—I believe you’ll find the first part of Cherry’s two-part hockey story, Keep Your Head Up, Kid, funny, charming, irritating, and insightful. (But disappointing if you’re a Colorado Rockies fan). Jared Keeso nailed the role as Cherry. I expect the second part, The Wrath of Grapes, to be equally compelling.
8.     Road Trip: I mentioned Hershey, PA already, so by all means attend a Bears game and eat the chocolate. Rollercoasters: go for it. The best ride, however, is the History and Chocolate Tour: chock full of humor and Hershey Kisses.
9.     No Check NHL: Note the double entendre. Sans paychecks, some NHLers are playing to no-check hockey and raising money for charity. La Tournee des Joueurs, also becoming known as the Quebec Caravan League, was created by Max Talbot and Bruno Gervais. This two-team tour features several French-Canadian players in games played in La Belle Province
10.  Books, Part II: For a more worldly view of hockey, Dave Bidini’s Tropic of Hockey is your best bet. For forget-your-underwear funny, Paul Grant’s Baptism by Ice is the way to go.
11.  Books, Part III. Ok, so I’m running out of ideas faster than you can say “Jonathan Quick got a ten-year contract extension but isn’t being paid .” Or “Taylor Swift.” But here are two novel ideas: Jack Falla’s Saved and Paul Quarrington’s King Leary. Ok, three. In case you’re not in the mood to take on a full book; you’re welcome to read my budding novel, one hockey sentence at a time.
12. Go On: Matthew Perry’s new show, especially the episode featuring Jeremy Roenick, is a hit in my household, where we’re going on with life without the NHL.
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