While doing research for this post, I was having a hard time finding anything using the Google about “Hockey Day in America.” I confess I had a small panic attack thinking the event was being downplayed and the sport once again was not getting the recognition it deserves. But be still my heart! There is a reason why I could not find “Hockey Day in America,” because it’s “Hockey Weekend Across America!” That’s right! The entire weekend, beginning tomorrow, is devoted to all things USA Hockey!
According to the USA Hockey website, the objective of the weekend is two-fold:
1. To celebrate our game and all involved in the sport throughout the nation using all means possible.
2. Provide opportunities for those who haven’t played hockey to try it, resulting ultimately in more people playing our game at all levels.
There are lots of ways you can participate in the weekend from attending clinics if they are nearby (Sadly Caniacs, there are no events going in in N.C.) or catching a college matchup on television. Each day of the weekend has a theme. Don’t worry. You will not have to wear a Hawaiian shirt. You can however participate in “Wear Your Favorite Hockey Jersey Day” or as I call it “Inappropriate Work Wear Friday.” I know some of you Caniacs have Team USA sweaters and it’s a great day to break those out of the closet! Saturday is “Try Hockey Day” and Sunday is “Celebrate Local Hockey Heroes Day.”
The NHL and NBC Sports are taking part in the weekend and will be giving us nine hours of coverage. Yes! I said nine! Granted you might have to listen to Mike Milbury and Pierre McGuire, but for those of us without Center Ice or the NHL Network, nine hours is a welcome treat. All of the details on the schedule are on the NHL’s website. Make sure to follow the Twitter handles @NHL, @USAHockey and use the hashtags #HWAA and #HockeyMeans to chat with other hockey fans and have the chance to win free stuff!
Although Hockey Weekend Across America is a Team USA event, I like to think of it as a celebration of hockey as a sport by people in America no matter their national identity or the teams they root for. We are very lucky to have some great American players in our backyard here in Carolina. Tim Gleason and Chad LaRose both hail from Michigan and Gleason proudly represented Team USA in the 2010 Winter Olympics. Chad grew up in the Compuware Hockey program founded by the owner of the Carolina Hurricanes and Detroit native, Peter Karmanos. Drayson Bowman, Jamie McBain, Patrick Dwyer, Justin Faulk and Brian Boucher all hail from the US of A. Maybe one day we will be able to convince Brandon Sutter that it’s ok to admit he was born on American soil, even if he was just passing through on the way back to Alberta
The future of hockey in the USA is strong. Don a jersey, watch some games and spread the word about Hockey Weekend Across America. You never know. You could be talking to the next Tim Gleason, Zach Parise or Mike Modano.