Hockeyville is a Symbol for the Whole Hockey Community

Last night was Johnstown, Pennsylvania’s time to shine as the first Hockeyville USA location. The atmosphere was wonderful and the excitement of all the fans in attendance was very clear to see. It was a preseason game, and not all the stars played, but everything seemed to go just perfectly.

This all got me thinking. The Kraft Hockeyville competition is the perfect symbol of the game of hockey all around the United States.

Think about it for a second. How many true hockey fans do you know outside of twitter and the online community? Maybe there’s a few fans you’ve run into at school or work, but the occurrences are certainly nothing like finding football fans. NFL jerseys are worn all over, almost everyone you know plays fantasy football, and you can probably guess how most of your friends are spending their Sundays during football season.

But hockey fans are a special breed. Personally, I did not have any hockey friends until social media and blogging became a part of my life eight years ago. Now I’ve found my community. I can go on twitter any time of day and year and I will see hockey tweets.

Unfortunately, many of us hockey fans have an inferiority complex because of this. We get upset when our sport is ignored on ESPN, when NHL apparel is hard to find in stores, and when the mainstream media considers hockey something that only Canadians care about. We’ll make a point to brag about why our athletes are tougher and our trophies are better. The constant need to defend being hockey fans and the sport of hockey in general is seen so often.

However, the way I look at this after a little epiphany last night reflects something different. For starters, who cares if a lot of people don’t love what you love? Do you enjoy hockey? Does it make you happy? Then don’t worry about what attention it gets. You’re giving it your attention and that’s what matters. Now, this specific epiphany came while reading a motivational book last night but the second epiphany ties into this thanks to the Hockeyville game I had the pleasure of tuning into last night.

Hockey is a community. Us as NHL fans are like the population of a small town. We bump heads over everything because we all like to think we know what’s best for the community and what goes on in it… (Fighting so much over what players can be your favorite, etc.)

But what we should spend more time doing is bonding over our uniqueness and small population. Of course growing the game is huge and I would love to see the NHL get more national attention. But for right now, I am thankful for the community that we are in. We all have been thinking about October getting here and it is just one day away. We watch any game that’s on tv even if it’s a preseason season game starring two teams that we don’t even like. Many of us blog about our opinions. We own shirseys and jerseys of so many players and teams. We are obsessed with any hockey movie. We tailgate the NHL draft. We’re such a crazy bunch, and it can all be seen in our passion on twitter.

I LOVE football, but I feel like people put their favorite team and their fantasy teams as priority. In hockey, I notice that I will watch any game and do that 7 days a week if possible. There’s just something different, and it is why despite my NFL team being 3-0, all I can think about this week is hockey.

I am so thankful to be a part of this small-town community that is being a hockey fan in the United States. Many of us take it for granted and get upset because of it, but it truly is one of my favorite things about the sport of hockey.

Kimmo’s Farewell Tour

It almost didn’t happen.

Leg and lung blood clots almost ended Kimmo Timonen’s career before he was ready. While we all knew this season would probably be his last, we didn’t expect a serious health scare to almost eliminate him having a final season on his own terms. Now things are starting to come together and it is looking like Saturday will mark the beginning of Kimmo’s farewell tour.

Kimmo even said himself that next season is not an option. So this is really it.

There is just one lingering question that remains: Is Saturday enough to spark some interest for teams who are looking to add a final piece to begin a run at the Cup? We of course won’t be able to answer this until the deadline passes on Monday.

But one thing is for certain. If Kimmo is not traded, we have at most 20 more games to enjoy this perfect Finn’s career.

He gave us ASG appearances, blocked shots, Olympic medals (for his home country of Finland of course), power play control, leadership, the best dry humor, sacrifice, and heart and dedication. I think we can safely say that Kimmo Timonen will go down as one of the best defensemen in Flyers history.

Personally I am crossing my fingers for a trade. This may seem crazy because I am such a huge Flyers fan and love Kimmo playing for my favorite team.  But Kimmo is a guy that you absolutely want to see win a Stanley Cup. Ask fans around the league and they will tell you how much they like him. It seems impossible to dislike him.

Whatever happens, I am going to enjoy every single game that Kimmo plays in. It doesn’t matter to me how effective he can be or how awful this Flyers team is.

It is hard to describe what a favorite player can mean to you. No one will every replace Kimmo Timonen as my favorite Flyer of all time. He will always be my guy. I got to see him play for the Flyers my 4 years of high school as I grew and changed as a person, and now I am about to be graduating college and he is still a huge part of me. Sound weird? Think of your favorite player of all time: Lindros, Modano, Selanne, whoever. I’m sure he means the same thing to you.

So let it begin. Kimmo Timonen’s career is almost over. We can finally say that for a fact. And it is so nice for him to get this mini farewell tour after almost having his season end without his discretion.

I urge you all to take this all in. We may have just one more game of Kimmo Timonen as a Philadelphia Flyer, but we also might have one more push for a Stanley Cup for Kimmo.

Here’s to him! I know he will make us all proud and already has with his determination to return. Kimmo is a special type of player that does not come around very often. Enjoying the little bit of his career that he has left is going to bring on countless emotions. But I am ecstatic beyond belief to get it started.

**preps tissues, shirsey, and jersey for Saturday’s game**

Go Kimmo Go!

Just Give Me an Entertaining Team

imageThe Philadelphia Flyers have just 9 wins in 27 games. Offense is a struggle, defense is a struggle, and special teams are a struggle. It is honestly impossible to come up with something good to say about this 2014-15 team.

But are all of the negatives the reason I keep wanting to skip out on watching games this season? Am I so spoiled that I can’t handle watching a poor team?

This is the question that confuses me.

During the 2006-07 Flyers season where the team had its worst record ever and finished dead last in the league, I attended my first ever Flyers game and had a blast despite how awful the roster of players was that year.

So why was it so easy for me to enjoy the team 8 years ago, but not now?

I believe there is a reason that has nothing to do with being spoiled by so many playoff teams.

No matter what you tell me, a team with Claude Giroux, Jake Voracek, Sean Couturier, and Wayne Simmonds should not suck this much. And if this team does indeed suck, these forwards should at least make them fun to watch. I said the same thing last season when the team struggled. I understand the importance of defense, but the fact that the offense is not producing either is why it’s so frustrating. This team is capable of scoring no matter what the coach does. Chemistry is important but it hasn’t stopped Jake. So why is it stopping the others? It’s almost like no one cares. The passion isn’t there. The games have become so boring to watch. Even bad teams can be interesting if they’re trying. This team is a total snooze fest.

I don’t want to be accused of being a fan who only watches and supports winning teams. I am a huge AZ Cardinals fan and have supported the team so much despite not seeing the playoffs in years. I can handle that. The team plays with passion. The team battles through every obstacle thrown its way.

All I want is for my feelings to change, and I don’t think they can with the way that the Flyers are disappointing. I want a great draft pick at this point (Eichel please!) and I honestly don’t even want to make the playoffs. But don’t get this confused with me wanting the team to tank. I want to see passion and effort that has not been there yet. If this team truly does suck despite all of the talented players that I mentioned, at least play some interesting hockey.

In a couple weeks, the day after Christmas marks the start of the WJC’s. I will certainly be watching all of the games and obsessing over how entertaining the tournament will be. I imagine I’ll also be picking any WJC game over any Flyers game that competes with it. I want entertaining hockey, I want passion.

Right now while the Philadelphia Flyers are playing like a bad team, that is the least of my worries. It’s all about the lack of entertainment. Even the Edmonton Oilers can be fun to watch. There’s just something about this team that upsets me and leaves me hanging. Don’t confuse me with wanting a division leader, all I want more than anything from this team is character, passion, and effort. Go out there and play like you enjoy doing it. I don’t expect towing gritty 1-0 or 2-1 games, but I do expect to be a team that can win those wild 5-4 games solely because our group of forwards is too talented not to do so.

Following Favorite Players

ImageWhile I have no rooting interest in the Chicago LA series and don’t dislike either team right now, the games have become unbearable to follow on social media. All you see is complaining about the Kings being called Flyers west by media and fans. Personally all I see is the complaining and not the actual Flyers west comments. But the complaining is just as annoying. Granted, those people have every right to be annoyed, but I personally do not get the big deal.

My current favorite NHL’ers are:
Kimmo Timonen
James van Riemsdyk
Mikael Granlund

You better believe that I will follow those three no matter where their careers go. Timonen is easy because he said he will only come back next season if it’s with the Flyers. But I make it a point to watch Leafs games when I can to watch JVR work his magic. And I will always root for the Wild in the west because I just love Granlund so much.

Of course I would love to see all three hoist a Stanley Cup. The Flyers will always come first, but those three are very important to me. I don’t care who they go on to play for, I will cheer them on like crazy.

Many Flyers fans loved Richards, Carter, and even Williams. So why shouldn’t they have every right to root for those guys to have success both individually and with their team?

Picture your favorite player. Does he play for your favorite team? If so, think of one you love who does not. I guarantee that the idea of him hoisting the Stanley Cup would make you so happy and proud.

So why aren’t Flyers fans allowed to root for the Kings? It’s just silly to act like they can’t.

Personally I love Brown and Quick for the Kings and Kane and HOSSA for the Hawks so it cancels out and I don’t care who wins. But if Timonen, JVR, or Granlund ever played for the Kings, they would put them over for me and I’d really be rooting for the Kings as long as they aren’t playing the Flyers.

I do not necessarily agree with having a second favorite team if you put that team ahead of your favorite team at any time. But I’m all for finding a strong rooting interest for a team with a player or players you really love on that team. Sports are a passion of mine and when I find players I have a passion to watch and root for, I am going to hope for all the success in the world for those players.

Please Excuse My Obsession, I Just Rediscovered My Passion

habsTwo years ago the Stanley Cup Playoffs were not fun for me. I resented at least 5 teams for the dumbest of dumb reasons. Let’s just say that I was adjusting to being in my first and current relationship. I was feeling out his friends and figuring out why he liked certain things that I did. His friendships with fans of numerous other teams were very strong. There is of course nothing wrong with that which I now know. But I was new and they had been around and had been through a lot with him before I ever came along. I had the wrong impression that my duty was to compete with them for his attention. But I now know that I should have been trying to get to know his friends and hope that they could someday be my friends too.

I was an immature 19 year old girl who knew nothing about relationships.

Thankfully two years later I no longer feel that way. I want to make up for lost times of getting to know Dan’s hockey friends and make up for lost times of not watching hockey games because of feelings of resentment, competition, and jealousy.

And on to the positives!

I am completely and totally swept up in an obsession with the Stanley Cup playoffs right now. I have watched at least parts of every game so far. It is all I think about lately. It’s just so good to be back.

I am thankful that I am able to watch this much hockey. Easter break helped and so does this semester of college coming close to an end.

I just can’t say enough about how passionate I am about the sport again. It has nothing to do with the Flyers either. They are just a bonus that makes me even happier than I already am. I know that I come off as a weirdo to family and some friends when all I have been doing for about a week is watching every hockey game on tv, but life is about doing what makes YOU happy.

I have a lot of regrets about how I treated hockey the past two years. I wish I could get the two years back because being miserable and grumpy about certain teams winning or being rooted for was just so immature and pathetic. How could I even think that way? Now I’m just grateful that I snapped out of it. I can watch all the games I want without feeling bitterness. I have rooting interests in some of the series, but they’re for normal reasons such as actually rivalries and wanting players I like to win or new teams to win.

Having something you are passionate about is very important. For me it has been hockey for 11 years now. I should have never abandoned that. I was dumb and deleted a twitter I had a lot of friends with so I could secretly not follow people I thought I was in competition with. I missed out on games. And I ruined games that I did watch.

But I should not dwell on the past and past regrets. I am back and that is all that matters. So please excuse my obsession! I will be tweeting every game I tune into. I will be posting selfies in all my hockey apparel. I will opt to stay home so I can watch hockey instead. I will sacrifice sleep and maybe some studying too. I will remember why I loved this wonderful game to begin with. I have rediscovered my passion for the sport of hockey and going all in during the Stanley Cup Playoffs. There’s no turning back now. This is who I am and I am absolutely ecstatic that I have found myself again.

Focus on the healthy, not the weight

For the past month or so, I have been trying to lose weight. I’ve tried different exercise routines and different “diets.” But I realized the problem is that my goal has been nothing but to lose weight.

This does nothing but put needless pressure on myself. Honestly, being a 21 year old college student is a more difficult time in life than many would expect. The school work is difficult and the pressure to figure out your future before it’s too late is scary. The focus is not just towards senior year, it’s towards a career and a future. So why add stress?

Being healthy is the best decision you can every make in life. But it should not be about losing weight, counting calories, and killing yourself at the gym. Healthy is way more than that.

Personally, I consider there to be 6 forms of health that we should all try to prioritize starting with the obvious. When you get these things in check, life will be so much easier and happier:

1. Physical
This does not mean you have to set a strict workout schedule each week and force yourself to bust your butt at the gym. This means not sitting around all day long. Many of us spend a lot of time sitting at school or work because we have no choice. This contributes to a lot of unhealthiness. It is important to stay active. So go for a daily walk when you have the time, do some yoga, dance around to music while cleaning or cooking, actively play with pets and kids. Any form of physical activity is great. It’s not all about the gym.

2. Food/Drink
Honestly, I am a firm believer in living a little. You will never see me cut out wings and pizza from my diet. I love and enjoy food too much. But you can turn your diet around easily without sacrificing everything that you love. Cut out soda, drink PLENTY of water. Have healthy snacks during the week, go for smaller portions, give up fast food and limit eating out. Allow yourself to have foods that you love but in smaller and less frequent amounts. Any small change will bring about big results. Cutting out soda and eating more home cooked meals alone will change so much.

3. Emotional/Mental
Being emotionally and mentally healthy is HUGE. If you are struggling with these two, talk to people. You are never alone. There is always someone willing to listen and help. If it’s something less serious, find an outlet for when you feel stressed, annoyed, or down. Listen to music, watch your favorite sport or tv show, cuddle with a loved one or pet, go for a walk. It is important to not downplay your emotions or shove them away. Listen to how you are feeling and decide what will make you feel better and if there is a problem that needs to be solved. If something needs to be solved, watching something or walking won’t take care of it. In that case, map it out, write about, talk it out. You WILL figure it out.

4. Relationships
It is so important to have family, friends, and loved ones to spend time with, talk to, and just be with. Treat those people like they are special and they will do the same to you. Never take important people for granted. Think before arguing or making an issue out of something silly. Make sure you are thankful for those that you have and you will be less inclined to be so negative if they do something that frustrates you. And if they do frustrate you, communicate. If they are making you insanely happy, tell them. Keep in touch with people you love and learn to appreciate them. Hard times and happy times are both so much better when you have someone or multiple people to share your thoughts and feelings with.

5. Time Spent
How you spend your free time is actually so important for your healthy. When you aren’t busy working and going to school, you need to give yourself time to relax and to have time. Everyone needs a social life. Everyone needs something they are passionate about. Be sure to remember those two things. You will wear yourself down so bad if you are constantly working and stressing. Get out and go somewhere with people, watch a movie, take up a hobby. Life is meant to be enjoyed. And believe it or not, enjoying life is a huge part of being healthy.

6. Being Happy
Of course, you can’t be happy all the time. But it is important to strive to find something happy in each day or week. Smile to make yourself feel better. Don’t take life so seriously. Don’t sweat the small things. You have the power to let yourself be happy. No one can take that away from you. 

Confessions of a Happy Girl Who Can’t Handle the Stress Right Now

I would consider myself a happy and very lucky person. I have everything you need: a wonderful family, caring friends, and a loving boyfriend. Let us also add to that a perfect companion in my cat because yes, even Lucy makes my world complete. I also have things I am passionate about that keep me going such as writing (of course), sports, music, and working on being physically healthy.

Unfortunately there is just one problem. When I have any second alone: when I’m lying in bed, have the house to myself, or commute on a bus for meetings at school, all I can think about is stress. This stress leads to anxiety which leads to ulcers, headaches, insomnia, panic attacks, crying, or emotional eating. How can I be so stressed if I live such a happy life? It’s all about the uncertainty of the future. I am getting towards the end of my junior year of college. Since I attained a 4.0 the past two semesters, I have put all the pressure in the world on myself to do it again. Every assignment, test, paper, project has to be perfect. That is really just the stresses of the near future, not the distant future like everything else revolves around.

Aside from the stress on grades is the stress to start a career after college. I’m terrified that I will not find a job after I graduate. I’ve made it my number one priority and am going to be actively searching hard and often, but I still fear for the worst. What ties into that is my fear that I won’t get an internship position through my school in the fall. Without an internship, I have no confidence that I will be able to get a job.

I know I am only 21 but I have so many goals after I graduate:

1. Find a job
2. Get my license
3. Move out
4. Hopefully plan a wedding

Why the rush? It’s just my list of goals and dreams that I want to accomplish next. It’s not the end of the world if I can’t accomplish all of them in the next few years, but I have put a lot of pressure on myself so that I can do everything in my power to meet those goals.

My goals are great to have, and it will be wonderful if I can accomplish them, but the thought of those aforementioned goals is already ripping me apart. I get scared that everything will fall to pieces or that I’m ruining my chances of meeting my goals by messing up minor decisions.

No matter how hard I try, once I am alone, I cannot escape my negative thoughts. Things are great, but the anxiety and side effects that come from stressing about the future are absolutely ripping me apart right now.