There has, of course, been a lot written and said about hockey over the years. My Dad passed some of these along from an email he’d received recently and maybe they’ve already the rounds. But I sought out a few others, threw in a couple of my own faves and compiled this list of famous and not so famous puck-related comments for your reading pleasure and/or to use as small talk at hockey parties or on long rides to or from arenas. I think the first is a wonderful start.
Hockey captures the essence of Canadian experience in the New World. In a land so inescapably and inhospitably cold, hockey is the chance of life, and an affirmation that despite the deathly chill of winter we are alive. Stephen Leacock, Canadian Author
A puck is a hard rubber disc that hockey players strike when they can’t hit one another.Jimmy Cannon, Sports Journalist
Ice hockey is a form of disorderly conduct in which the score is kept. Doug Larson, Journalist
Coach, I don’t want to go back out. I suck at hockey.Little Johnny (I kid you not), 4 or 5 Year Old Mite Hockey Player I had the pleasure of coaching and Future NHL Star
Half the game is mental; the other half is being mental.Jim McKenny, Former NHL Player and Journalist
Sometimes people ask, ‘Are hockey fights real?’ I say, ‘If they weren’t, I’d get in more of them.Wayne Gretzky, ‘The Great One’
How would you like a job where, every time you make a mistake, a big red light goes on and 18,000 people boo?Jacques Plante, Hall of Fame Goaltender
Hockey belongs to the Cartoon Network, where a person can be pancaked by an ACME anvil, then expanded accordion-style back to full stature, without any lasting side effect.Steve Rushin, Sports Journalist
When Hell freezes over, I’ll play hockey there too.Seen somewhere on a T-Shirt
What’d the difference between a Hockey Mom and a Pitbull?…….Lipstick.Ok, not a quote, but kinda funny.
Yeah, sure Old Time Hockey! Like Eddie Shore! Eddie Shore Yeah!Steve, Jack and Jeff Hanson, Charleston Chiefs (by way of the Iron League) – Slapshot
Hockey is murder on ice.Jim Murray, Sports Journalist
All hockey players are bilingual. They know English and profanity.Gordie Howe, Mr. Hockey
You miss 100% of the shots you never take.Wayne Gretzky
I wish I could find a way to get someone to pay me to watch my kids play hockey.A Somewhat Anonymous Hockey Dad Blogger
I went to a fight the other night and a hockey game broke out.Rodney Dangerfield, Comedian and Actor
We know that hockey is where we live, where we can best meet and overcome pain and wrong and death. Life is just a place where we spend time between games.Fred Shero, Coach of the Philadelphia Flyers
By the age of 18, the average American has witnessed 200,000 acts of violence on television, most of them occurring during Game 1 of an NHL playoff series.Steve Rushin
Some people skate to the puck. I skate to where the puck is going to be.Wayne Gretzky
Hockey players have fire in their hearts and ice in their veins. Author Unknown
If you can’t beat ’em in the alley, you can’t beat ’em on the ice.Conn Smythe, Toronto Maple Leafs Owner
Cournoyer has it on that wing. Here’s a shot – Henderson made a wild stab for it and fell. Here’s another shot! Right in front – THEY SCORE!!! Henderson has scored for Canada!Foster Hewitt calling what is arguably the most famous goal of all time
Why is a puck called a puck? Because dirty little bastard was taken.Future Hall of Fame Goaltender
Street hockey is great for kids. It’s energetic, competitive, and skillful. And best of all it keeps them off the street.Author Unknown
Great moments… are born from great opportunity.Herb Brooks, 1980 US Olympic Hockey Coach as depicted in the 2004 Motion Picture “Miracle”
Hockey players wear numbers because you can’t always identify the body with dental records.Author Unknown
Dad I forgot my (insert piece of equipment here e.g. skates, helmet, pants, neck guard, stick, etc.).Heard as recently as yesterday from the Devil after 12+ years of packing bags and going to arenas.
Arrive at the net with the puck and in ill humor. Fred Shero
All right, let’s show ’em what we got, guys! Get out there on the ice and let ’em know you’re there. Get that fuckin’ stick in their side. Let ’em know you’re there! Get that lumber in his teeth. Let ’em know you’re there!Reggie Dunlop, Player/Coach of the Charleston Chiefs – Slapshot
How could I not include the venerable Mr. Potato Head aka Don Rickles
Black people dominate sports in the United States – 20 percent of the population and 90 percent of the Final Four. We own this shit. Basketball, baseball, football, golf, tennis, and as soon as they make a heated hockey rink we’ll take that shit too.Chris Rock
Four out of five dentists surveyed recommended playing hockey.Author Unknown
I don’t date dusters.Also Seen on a T-Shirt Somewhere (he says with a knowing grin)
Red ice sells hockey tickets.Bob Stewart
Get used to this phrase: how could both referees have missed that?Mike Brophy (a personal fave as I’m sure my Dad will attest)
He brings something special. I don’t know what it is, but if you ask him, you wouldn’t understand his answer.Wayne Gretzky on Ranger forward Esa Tikkanen
I would be the last to disparage the genius of the politicians who make our laws,” Hutchison wrote around that time, “the writers who make our books, the artists who make our pictures, but in gauging the true culture of the nation and reckoning its tensile strength, let the student not neglect hockey. Author and Winnipeg Free Press Editor Bruce Hutchison in The Unknown Country
Some guys play hockey. Gretzky plays 40 mph chess.Lowell Cohn, Sportswriter
As always, let me know if you have any others you’ve heard and/or particularly love from our favourite frozen game.
Standing behind or on the bench as a coach, assistant coach or trainer, Hockey Mom and I have been privy to some interesting comments over the years. As the Boy and the Devil have gotten older, the quips have become less and less suitable for presentation in mixed company, however, here are a few memorable ones from when they were somewhat younger.
10. “Did you have fun jumping over the boards?” Asked of a teammate who just had her first successful trip over said boards versus being ushered out the traditional ice-level door by an assistant coach/makeshift traffic cop.
9. “What’s the score?” Obviously posed by a player who was intensely focused on the game, but was perhaps in need of corrective lenses.
8. “That goalie is crazy.” A phrase uttered on more than one occasion by more than one player in reference to more than one apparently anger-ridden or terribly frustrated goaltender rightly opposed to having players enter the forbidden blue ice of the goal crease.
7. “My feet are cold.” A common complaint issued around 6:45am on weekend mornings in classic, old, rural barns with crisp sheets of black ice in late January.
6. “I know. I’m sorry.” Most often heard just after a goal has been scored, a penalty has been served or an unfortunate combination of the two.
5. “Who are we playing?” Asked by the same laser-focused player who from #9 above.
4. “Pass the puck!” More often than not shouted at players on the ice by teammates on the bench who once they reach the ice have the same phrase shouted right back at them.
3. “What’s your name?” Asked of a player by coach early in the season and beyond the age when names are boldly written in permanent marker strips of masking tape and then fashioned securely to the fronts of helmets as constant reminders for the memory-challenged. In our defence, behind those masks, they sometimes all look the same.
2. “I can’t see.” Proclaimed by a young lady from behind a cage and through a sea of matted, saliva-covered, half-frozen, dark brown hair, which takes a full two minutes to fix. Then proclaimed again not more than two minutes later after her very next shift.
And my all-time favourite, innocently offered by a five-year old young lad who was actually little and actually named Johnny:
1. “Coach, I’m not going back out next shift. I really suck at hockey.”
Let me know if you’ve heard any that can top these.