As you can tell from this blog, I like hockey.
I play when my body cooperates, tweet some hot takes every now and again and haven’t blogged in awhile because life got busy.
This has to be the year that I’ve written or tweeted the least about hockey, but people notice when I do, I guess. It’s fun interacting with people online when they’re civil because there’s always context, even when it’s someone you don’t follow thanks to Twitter’s element of discovery.
I don’t get paid to write about hockey. Or about my thoughts about hockey either. I left journalism for the time being in 2014 and work as a communications specialist for Frostburg State University in Maryland.
When the opportunity arises, I’ll talk about hockey and write. This past week I received a very different conversation starter in the mail about hockey.
When I visited my parents in Clear Spring, they said I had mail and it was about hockey. My dad opened it thinking it’s for him (he has the same first name). The envelope is plain white, fitting 8 1/2 x 11 paper inside. The address label to me is just as generic, looking like it was made on a typewriter.
Probably the only distinguishable characteristic from this letter is a 2016 Global USA Forever Stamp.
Inside, a crudely laid-out six-page PowerPoint is stapled together with the title “Six (and 1/2) reasons why hockey is becoming the most unwatchable of the major sports.” You can peruse the whole PDF here: hockey-pot.
There are cited sources, pull quotes, some locker room language (I don’t mind but it lacks context) and a plea to bring back 1970s hockey.
The presentation doesn’t come with an introduction. No letter explaining why this was sent to me or from whom. Just the PowerPoint.
That one is addressed from a Mark Whicker in Long Beach, California.
When I arrived back to my apartment in Frostburg, I received the same presentation.
Same style envelope, everything.
But this was addressed from a Mark Willard in Los Angeles.
I have no clue who actually sent these.
A quick Google search shows that Mark Whicker is an Orange County Register and Los Angeles Daily News columnist who has written about the Anaheim Ducks in the last few days.
The Mark Willard in Los Angeles shows a Fox Sports San Diego reporter and radio host, who used to work for ESPN in Los Angeles. I don’t see hockey in his tweets or coverage of late. And I doubt someone working at a San Diego TV and radio station is commuting from Los Angeles.
Only the Long Beach envelope has a time-stamp on it, mailed Dec. 19 from Los Angeles.
It’s possible it could be neither of these men and be someone else. Maybe I should send them to the police for finger printing.
You probably want to know what the PowerPoint says, right?
- Challenging experience trying to stream games
- The LED board advertisements near the benches
- The CGI ads placed on the glass behind the goal on TV broadcasts
- Center ice ads make it difficult to track the puck
- Obstructive netting behind the goals
- Hiring Ice Girls to scrape the ice during TV timeouts
- Reason 6.5: Ads on practice sweaters will soon give way to the European league ads on sweaters
- (This, the writer says, applies to all sports so I guess isn’t part of the 6.5?) Fans taking photos and videos with their smartphones are obstructing other fans’ views.
The final page praises 1970s hockey, which in addition to a lack of ads and protective nets, the writer cites lower protective glass, minimal helmets, organ music over a DJ, ticket prices, etc., etc.
I’m not going to go over and debate the points the writer, who by the looks of the PowerPoint, is older, remembers going to or watching hockey in the 1970s and is not much for the electronic age.
Some of the points raised are in line with fan complaints from over the years, others are inaccurate or irrelevant and the argument for bringing back ’70s hockey seems like someone was taking a dose of ‘member berries. (While there was not a work stoppage, there was a labor strife in the way of the competing WHA that diluted some of the NHL game quality.)
The argument against the protective nettings, calling them “Brittanie Cecil” nets comes across insensitive for the young girl who lost her life from an errant puck striking her in Columbus. I can see through the netting fine, just like the people behind home plate at baseball games. I remember an uproar about the nettings initially, but I think we’ve adapted and come to our senses that it was the best thing to do by doing what you can to prevent another fan death like Brittanie’s.
I just don’t think whoever sent this twice to me wants a friendly exchange on Twitter or wherever.
I mean, if the writer could find my apartment address (which takes more effort) and my parent’s address (easy mistake but it happens), you could find me on Twitter and just talk there.
If they found any of my prior addresses in Florida, just know that everyone in Sarasota who received it will just toss it in the trash.
I’d like to know if anyone else received these or similar mailings. Let me know by either contacting me through the blog or in the comments.