Venus Trapped in Mars

15 April 2016

A Very Basic Guide to Hockey

What a time to be alive in Dallas. 

What a time. 

The MAVS and STARS are IN. THE. PLAYOFFFSSSSS! The Mavs start the playoffs this Saturday against the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Stars began their playoff quest last night with a 4-0 victory over the Minnesota Wild. 

Oh, and hey, look... a Fan Friday post for the first time in a long while! 
I'm very sorry, I get the sports sads in the football offseason. 

You guys know I'll never bullshit with you when it comes to sports. If I don't know it, I'll admit that. I am NOT a hockey expert. I have been to many hockey games though thanks to my friend Vanessa, who is as die hard about the Dallas Stars as they come. She holds Stars season tickets, and what do I love more than anything in this world? HOLDING TICKETS! Naturally, we hit it off immediately. 

Vanessa has been kind enough to invite me along as her plus one to many games over the past two years. I still don't know the majority of what is going on, but I have picked up a few things to watch for here and there. Today I thought I'd share those things. 

This post will be a VERY basic, beginner's guide to hockey. Enough info so you can watch the playoffs (and *ahem* root for the Stars *ahem*) and know what is going on. 

Should a hockey expert be writing this post? Yes. 
Am I still going to write it anyway? Yes. 

If you are a giant hockey fan, I hope you will still get some enjoyment out of this post and leave a comment below with anything I've missed that you think a new fan needs to know! 

1. There are a mind blowing amount of female hockey fans

Female hockey fans are the bomb. They know every single detail, stat, player, coach, rule... everything. Most of the female hockey fans I've met are die hard about one sport and one sport only, HOCKEY. They eat, sleep, live, breathe hockey. Go to a Dallas Stars game and you'll see just as many, if not more, female fans as male fans. 

This sports loving female, totally digs that. 
Oh, and did I mention that we all share a hatred for pink jerseys? 

2. Number of players on the ice
Six players on the ice per team. 5 skaters, 1 goalie. 

3. Offsides
Y'all know I travel for work to Canada each year. My first year, someone tried to explain hockey to me. This was before I'd ever been to a game or even met my friend, Vanessa. They all said you really need to start by understanding ONE rule.... Offsides

I'm going to try and simplify this rule for you.

Have you ever heard of the term "cherry picking" in basketball? Cherry picking is when a player refuses to go down to the other side of the court to play defense, and instead just sits under his own basket waiting for someone to pass him the ball for an easy score. Like the red dot in this chart...

OFFSIDES in hockey prevents a scenario just like this from happening. You are not allowed to just stand by the opposing goal and wait for your teammate to feed you the puck. 

Simply put, you are not allowed to cross that blue line on the ice, before the puck does. 

There is also another scenario that plays a big part in the Offsides call in hockey.

Let's say the Stars are on offense trying to score, but someone from the other team hits the puck past all of the Stars players, and on to the other side of that blue line...

All of our Stars players have to cross BACK over that blue line, before the puck can cross back into the offensive territory again. 

If you're trying to keep your offensive momentum, you really need to keep the puck on the right side of that blue line. Should it cross to the left, your whole team has to cross back over before you can pick up your offensive attack again. 

4. Power Plays / Penalty Kill

If there's one thing I know, and I think you guys know... it's football. Let's talk football real fast. Pretend your team's defender gets a Pass Interference penalty called on him. Normally, that would result in an automatic first down at the spot of the foul for the offense. 

Well in HOCKEY, a penalty results in what I like to call a time out for bad behavior. This is more commonly referred to as "the penalty box". If a player commits a penalty, he has to go sit in the penalty box for a set number of minutes based on the severity of the penalty. 

Let's say this Minnesota Wild player just committed a penalty against the Dallas Stars....

That means the Dallas Stars are now ON A POWER PLAY! This is a huge deal, because the Minnesota Wild now have to play with one less player on the ice, so the Stars have a one man advantage. 

In turn, the Minnesota Wild are now on what is called a PENALTY KILL, where they are trying to stop the Stars from easily scoring until that penalized player is allowed to return to the ice. 

Fun fact, there can be more than one player in the penalty box at one time, making the Power Play a huge opportunity for the other team. It is important to note though, that the lowest number of men on the ice it can go is 5 vs 3. 

On a minor penalty (2 minutes) a goal automatically ENDS the Power Play. 

5. The Enforcer

This is not an actual hockey role, but more of an unofficial player that every team has. This is the guy who wants to fight. He's the tough guy who's going to address any dirty play by the opposing team. 

That guy for the Dallas Stars is Antoine Roussel. For example, if someone has an uncalled for, violent play against our golden boy Jamie Benn, you're likely to see Roussel handling some business later in the game. 

Just like when that little girl took my lunch money in 2nd grade and my mom decked her square in the mouth two days later and said, "BITCH BETTER HAVE MY MONEY!

JK LOL. That didn't happen or my mother would probably be in prison. 
You get the point of the enforcer though, right? 

Those are the 5 very simple things this newbie has learned so far about hockey.

Oh, and if you go to a Stars game be prepared to do the following:

- Do the Dallas Stars crowd chant after a goal:
Bum-bum! DALLAS! Bum-bum! STARS!
Bum-bum! DALLAS! Bum-bum! STARS!

- Yell "Who Cares?" after the announcer says who scored the opposing team's goal

- They'll show a clip of "PeeWee Herman's Big Adventure"
Pee Wee will sing: "The Stars at night are big and bright..."
You then scream and clap: "Deep In The Heart of Texas"

- During the National Anthem, the crowd yells STARS during the following lines:
"Whose broad stripes and bright STARS"
"O say, does that STARS-spangled banner"

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  1. You know I love you, you know I love hockey, so of course I LOVE THIS POST!!

    bum bum Dallas
    bum bum Stars!!!

  2. I'm a huge hockey fan (go Pens!), so this post is right up my alley. The picture of the player in the box is Derek Boogaard, who sadly died a few years ago. He was an enforcer, too - which probably explains why he's in the box. ;) I really love all sports (except soccer - yuck), but I honestly think hockey is the best live sports experience...and nothing beats the playoffs. Awesome explanation of offsides, by the way. I think most new fans have the most trouble grasping that.

  3. I wish you wrote this post three months ago before I went to my very first hockey games. It was Anaheim vs. Calgary. This is so helpful! Chris didn't explain things nearly as well as you just did!

  4. I am a die hard hockey fan and love this post!!!

  5. Love this! I'm Canadian, and therefore, a hockey fan by nature. It's crazy how intense the fans get, especially in Toronto. Like, the team sucks and the fans will defend them to the death. It's great!

    1. I love that too. I was talking to a guy from Toronto at work and he asked if I was going to the Stars playoff game that day. I told him it was a little too expensive for me and then told him the price (just about a hundred for nosebleed) and he laughed and laughed and laughed at me. He said that wouldn't even get a standing room ticket in toronto!!!

  6. Thank you!! My SO plays hockey, we've been together 7 years, and I understand.... almost nothing. This makes the "offsides" so much easier to understand. Saving it so I can study later...

  7. My husband played professionally for 8 years, so if I did not know the game inside and out, we probably still wouldn't be together lol I've told him that in my next life, I will be a hockey analyst. Love the way you broke it down, definitely a lot easier for others to understand :)

    1. 8 years!!! That is one TOUGH ASS HUBBY you have!!!!

  8. My 19 y.o. daughter is a huge. . .H.U.G.E. . .hockey fan, and she would whole-heartedly agree with girls in glitter and pink at hockey games. . .any sporting event really. Real fan girls wear jerseys. She's managed to not only hook (no pun intended) her 7 y.o. brother into the sport - he knows most teams by their logos - but he's now playing the sport. She couldn't be happier.

    1. Awww I LOVE this!! I agree 100%, wear your teams colors or don't bother. No pro mens teams have a pink color jersey (that I know of at least)

  9. Major Wild fan right here! Game 2 was last night and after that non-goal of a goal from Roussel or however you spell his name, he got a lot of four letter words attached to his name for the rest of the night from yours truly. #passionatefan #sonotagoal

  10. as a Canadian Hockey Gal I will say well done, great post and your are so totally correct about the girls.. although I find they eventually can expand into golf or soccer but Hockey will always rule

  11. I may be canadian.... but even after reading this I still don't get hockey... Does that make me a bad canadian?

  12. This is REALLY good to know because Nashville is a huge hockey town (the predators are decently good) and now I can know what's going on!

  13. As someone who's dad is a MAJOR hockey AND football, I have never once in my life understood offsides. This guide brought home the message loud and clear. Damn. Thanks for that girl.


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