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Detroit Red Wings

Detroit Red Wings: Hockey Obsession 101

Detroit Red WingsMy office is full of people discussing the top football (soccer) games last night, or the cricket scores, or even what’s happening in the rugby. I sit alone at my desk, unable to join in most of the time, unless someone mentions non-league football. It’s rare, but has been known to happen that I’ve been asked my opinion as the token ‘lower-leagues’ football fan, but nothing will ever crop up about the NHL. I could go and add my own discussions, but trust me, nobody in my office wants to hear about why Detroit need a solid backup goaltender, or how I think a good high-scoring win over the Coyotes could really point our season in the right direction (all except a guy who is a Canucks fan).

It’s a miracle that I found the NHL at all, especially as there was no family interest, or media coverage in the UK. So how did this obsession start? Sadly, and quite embarrassingly, the answer is NHL 94, and the Sega Megadrive (or Genesis).

Until I bought this game on a whim, my only loves were Sunday League football, and York City FC. It was cheap, and I had very little money aged 12, but having just completed Streets Of Rage (look it up on Youtube, it’s awesome!), I was looking for something a bit different.

This was something so addictive, I couldn’t believe how much I got involved with this sport I’d never seen and players I’d never heard of. I’d be utterly elated with my ability to get Shawn Burr to deke past Mark Messier AND Brian Leetch to score the playoff winner against the Rangers, and at one point, I had a 52-game unbeaten streak. After establishing a good 2-3 goal lead, I’d then bring on Bob Probert and fight whoever on the opposition looked a threat, to keep them out the game for 5 minutes. Is it worrying I still remember this stuff? After just a week, I was searching the TV listings for NHL games on TV and found absolutely nothing for weeks on end. At this point the internet was not widely available, and as such, I found myself limited to memorising the names of the players in the whole Detroit roster simply by their number, then I moved on to Hartford, and then Winnipeg, and so on, until I could quite confidently name any player, from any team, for that whole season.

Why Detroit? Well, whilst learning how to play the game, I found that the setup of the Detroit first line (Yzerman, Fedorov, Ysebaert, Lidstrom, Coffey) was suited to my limited gaming ability. 4 years later, and Channel 5 started up on UK TV, which showed one game a week, and the highlights from other games, at about 3am on a Sunday night. I’d set my alarm, and then sneak downstairs and, keeping the volume low, indulge in watching the goals, hits and fights from the week. I was transfixed, and even more so, when my beloved Detroit would be shown, and I’d be able to watch Probert and Grimson knocking seven bells out of each other for real, or Yzerman slotting one-timers from Chiasson’s assist etc.

15 years on from that initial purchase, I’ve got a wife that loves the sport as much as I do, who imported me a hat, and recently a jersey (Lidstrom 5)from the USA, I’ve purchased the NASN network from my cable provider (which shows most games, but not all), just in case the Red Wings are featured, I’ve a favourite website that streams all the hockey games live and yes, I still creep downstairs and watch them online in the middle of the night, and I must have watched the Paul Newman film ‘Slapshot’ at least 25 times. We’re planning on a trip to the USA, to take a holiday, and of course, go to as many Red Wings games as possible. I have no problem with treating it like an addiction, and I definitely get withdrawal symptoms in the closed season.

Tonight we play the Coyotes. The junkie prepares himself for another fix.

I wonder what would have happened if I’d purchased NBA 94?

P.S. I’m really enjoying this blogging lark, so big kudos to Canucklehead for contacting me about it!

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7 comments for “Detroit Red Wings: Hockey Obsession 101”

  1. I think I had that same game! I think video games are GOOD for kids!

    I sometimes wonder about my hockey obsession. I grew up a 49er fan (still am). I often wonder if my Sharks obsession now is worse than my 49er obsession back then. I’m friends with another Sharks fan who was also an obsessed 49er fan. We sit around trying to figure out if our obsession for the Sharks is worse than our obsession with the Joe Montana/Jerry Rice/Steve Young 49ers. Sadly, it’s like trying to compare the 70’s Steelers to the 80’s 49ers - you can’t compare.

    Posted by sharksfanNo Gravatar | October 22, 2009, 9:09 am
  2. I used to be a Broncos fan I really liked Elway.Rice Montana and Young were really great players back then.

    Posted by CanuckulheadNo Gravatar | October 22, 2009, 10:38 am
  3. [...] post: Detroit Red Wings: Hockey… Filed under Rangers, Score Tags: been-asked, desk, office-wants, Rangers, Score, time, [...]

    Posted by Detroit Red Wings: Hockey… | The Gers Info | October 22, 2009, 11:14 am
  4. (Gasp), I’m a Cowboys Fan.

    Posted by FC Sharks FanNo Gravatar | October 22, 2009, 12:17 pm
  5. Hey that’s how I got into hockey playing NHL on my megadrive.I think I started before 1994? It wasn’t called EA sports when I first played it was EASPN.ESPN tried to sue them for copyright so they changed the name to EA sports.Thanks for mention by the way!

    Posted by CanuckulheadNo Gravatar | October 22, 2009, 2:40 pm
  6. Thanks for sharing rocknrollnobody. I always find it interesting to see how someone got into the sport when it was not introduced to them at a very young age from parents or friends. I remember by me playing Madden football on the Nintendo 64, it helped me learn the official signals for flags. It is interesting to see how much video games can assist in learning a lot about a sport.

    Posted by pittpenNo Gravatar | October 22, 2009, 2:56 pm
  7. So sorry that my Yotes didn’t give you your wish…ok not really :) but I do feel your pain about being the only person in the office interested in hockey. I’ve got a lot of football (the other kind) of fans in the office. I’m the lone wolf (or Coyote as it were) And my obsession started with some free tickets to a preseason game. That’s all it took and now there are 2 females obsessed in my household (me and my now hockey goalie daughter) Great blog..rock on!

    Posted by PuckGalNo Gravatar | October 27, 2009, 11:19 pm

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