TAMPA – The All-Star Game is right around the corner on our corner, so now seems as good a time as any to celebrate the 100th birthday of the National Hockey League, which was formed in 1917. What better way to mark hockey's centennial than with a salute?
It is not a toothless history. Here is the game to make your blood race, coming at you, no quit in it. Here is the game of Howe and Hull, of Gretzky and Lemieux, of Crosby and Ovechkin and Kucherov. You don't even need ice. Roll an orange ball out on the street. Set up trash cans and lay a broom across their tops. You've got a goal. You've got a game. You've got family.
That family is everywhere, across the globe. And so are memories. That's the game. From those first stick-and-ballers who scrambled across ponds in Canada to names on the Stanley Cup to those American kids who made a miracle in Lake Placid to Paralympians on sleds, it's the same game, the one in your blood.
Here's to hockey, and 100 reasons why it's great:
The Great One. Bobby Orr flying through the air. Shinny. Mr. Hockey. Sweaters, not jerseys. Slapper. The Stanley Cup. Hats on the ice. Lake Placid. Super Mario.
Playoff beards. Playoff overtime. He shoots, he scores. The Summit Series. Hockey Night in Canada. The Rocket. Gerry Cheevers' mask. Don Cherry's jackets. Pulling the goalie. Top shelf.
The Original Six. Kick save and a beauty. Outdoor games. Hot chocolate. Howie Morenz. Bobby Clarke's teeth. Backyard rinks. Boom Boom. Two national anthems. The Broad Street Bullies.
Jean Beliveau. The octopus at The Joe. Tonight's three stars. Espo. Gretzky to Lemieux, 1987 Canada Cup. Toe drag. Tretiak. Peter Puck. Penalty shots. Zamboni.
"The Good Old Hockey Game." Sid the Kid. The Masterton Trophy. The Big Bad Bruins. The Golden Jet. Foster Hewitt. California Golden Seals. Vegas Golden Knights. Gump Worsley. The Q.
Raising your arms after a goal. Soviet Red Army. The red light. Mike Emrick. Paul Henderson. Les Habitants. The Flower. The Hammer. The Lady Byng. The Sutter brothers.
Stick taps. Mark Messier's guarantee. Laying the lumber. Shorties. Table hockey. Yvan Cournoyer. Zarley Zalapski. U.S.-Canada women. Willie O'Ree. Ovie.
The Gordie Howe hat trick. John Tortorella news conferences. The French Connection. Jaromir Jagr's mullet. Gretzky's 50 goals in 39 games. Street hockey. Kate Smith. Between the dots. Thunder Bay. Biscuit in the basket.
The Maple Leaf. Flyers fans. The KLM line. Dan Kelly. Game 7s. Third man in. Pavel Bure. Newsy Lalonde. Chelsea Dagger after Blackhawks goals. Dit Clapper.
Shaking hands after playoff series. Marty St. Louis. Goal horns. Bob Baun's broken leg. Fighting majors. End to end. Turk Broda. Jim Craig. Do you believe in miracles? The names on the Cup.
Contact Martin Fennelly at [email protected] Follow @mjfennelly.