The awaited return of hockey excites fans everywhere

Colette Brottman

Contributing Writer

It is Saturday, Jan. 19. Every other person you pass is sporting some type of NHL paraphernalia. For the first and last time of the season, all hockey fans, be they supporters of the New York Rangers, the Philadelphia Flyers or the Chicago Blackhawks, have one thing in common: NHL Hockey is back.

The National Hockey League had been in a lockout from Sept. 15, 2012 to Jan. 6, 2013. The abbreviated season lost an estimated $18-20 million a day. When news broke that the lockout was over, players flew home from their international gigs, hurried into a quick preseason and assured fans they would play their hearts out.

The NHL released a number of commercials with the phrase, “Hockey is Back.” It was as if they were begging for forgiveness. Powerful checks, insane goals and a simple slogan intend to bring back the crowds of adoring viewers. The schedule was released, and many fans, including myself, were disappointed to see that teams would only be playing within their conference.

There is nothing more exhilarating then hearing the crowd roar at the United Center when Jim Cornelison points to the flag during the National Anthem, or when little fans are screaming the Rangers Goal Song. Hockey is more than a sport to some people; it is a culture. But in its absence, people turned to watch International Hockey and the American Hockey League (AHL). On Jan. 6, hearing that the staple of so many people’s childhoods was back was the best Christmas gift.

After a long week of NHL hockey, the players are back in the swing of things. The Blackhawks are 6-0 for the first time ever, the Flyers are off to a shaky start (2-4) and the Rangers are 2-3. Fans are grateful for so many international teams to have opened up to the scrambling NHL players, but we are even more excited to be able to sit down, flip on Comcast Sports Network and watch some good ’ol dirty hockey.

As a life-long Blackhawks fan, I put my money on them this season. It looks like the 2010 Stanley Cup team. With Patrick Kane having either an assist or goal in five of their games, Marian Hossa back on the ice and Jonathan Toews’ face-off magic, I get to shout to every Flyers fan, 6-0 baby!

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