Hockey Road Trip: The Great Southern Sports Adventure

Outside of an 18-month stretch of my life during high school, I hadn't really spent a lot of time in the South.  As a result, I've always found the South to be quite mystifying: it's not so much a place as it is a "state of mind", personified by a relaxed way of life with hospitable inhabitants.  I had every intention of visiting after we left, but I just never got around to finding the time.

Enter Dave.

Dave is one of my oldest friends, and after a few years of living fairly close to each other in Los Angeles, he moved to Mississippi to help run one of his family's grocery stores - he seized the opportunity for several reasons, most notably being his yearning for the Southern lifestyle.

From the moment he arrived, Dave suggested that I come visit so that he could show me this region that he loved so much.  His grocery store had a connection to get free tickets for New Orleans Saints games, and Dave also had family members who were season ticket holders for LSU's football team, so we naturally tried to find a weekend in which we could see both teams play.  When I began my Hockey Road Trip "quest", Dave suggested we expand our Louisiana football plan one step further, and work in a trip to see the nearest NHL team: the Dallas Stars.

The Greatest Goal I've Ever Seen

4. NEW JERSEY, Scott Niedermayer 4 (Jim Dowd) 9:47

June 20, 1995.  That's how it looked in the box score.  Pity the poor hockey fan who didn't see it happen, and only saw this in print the next day.

The question is often asked: what's the greatest play you've ever seen?  For sports fans, it usually involves a superstar like Michael Jordan or Joe Montana, presumably executing a clutch play during an important playoff game.  If you narrow it down to just hockey, the greatest moment would also lean toward some sort of overtime heroics from the Stanley Cup playoffs.  But for this hockey fan, it wasn't an overtime goal that will always resonate - but it was a pivotal play at an incredibly crucial time, and as we approach the 20th anniversary of that moment, it's hard not to look back and revel in the same sense of awe that I had while watching on television that fateful evening.

Hockey Road Trip: Once More Into the Valley of the Sun

As we head towards the end of the 2014-15 NHL season, I finally have time to recap my final road trip of the 2013-14 season (sorry - I've been VERY busy).  Needless to say, it was a very quick trip to a nearby destination, but it's always fun to escape from the craziness of Los Angeles and spend a weekend in the even-sunnier confines of the greater Phoenix area.

Jobing.com Arena (as it was known then) is a terrific place to see a hockey game, without a doubt.  The sight lines are terrific, the staff is very friendly, and the food is superb.  In fact, it was only after visiting this arena, as well as Nationwide Arena in Columbus, that I was finally inspired to start my quest of seeing all the other NHL venues - and as it stands right now, these two are still my favorite places.  So why go back now?  Two reasons: my dear friend, Chad - trusty companion throughout my Hockey Road Trips - had yet to see a game there; and more importantly, I had recently reconnected with an old friend from high school who lived in Arizona, and this was a great opportunity to finally see him again after more than two decades.

The Cinematic Virtue of Soviet Hockey

Drama is what I admire most about sports.  I would argue that no film can match the dramatic quality of a live sporting event - and just like movies, the best moments in sports are due to good story lines.  One common theme in movies is the idea of cheering for the underdog, which we often do in sports as well.  But what if the underdog is someone that we've been told to fear historically? 

More than thirty years after the "Miracle on Ice" game, and a decade after Disney's Miracle, three filmmakers told three separate stories to best encapsulate the experience of the men involved with the Soviet hockey team.  While each film treads into similar territory, they differentiate themselves from each other via one particular component that the filmmaker pulls to the forefront of the story.