Hockey is back!
That’s right, arguably, the greatest sport in the world will resume (free of lockout drama) Wednesday night, and I couldn’t be more excited. I’ll be dressed up in all my Chicago Blackhawks gear, and I assume you’ll be in your favorite team’s gear too. That’s how it should be.
Love for hockey is a year-round emotion, but if you still need some help getting back in the mood, here is my list of things to do to get ready for the new season.
1. Team desktop wallpapers
Most teams have pretty awesome desktop wallpapers for you to spice up your laptop or desktop. It’s ultimately unimportant, but it’s a great mood setter. Since they’re there, it’s not a bad idea to take advantage of them. Most of them are done well, and it’s great way to show your team pride in small way.
I usually set the team’s schedule wallpaper as my background because I always forget the times and dates of every game. I am a horrible fan, I know.
2. Buy a mini-hockey set
The only thing more fun than watching hockey is playing hockey.
Most of us can’t afford all the gear needed for ice hockey. That’s why mini-hockey sets exist. These sets are best if you play with three other people and a soft puck.
I still play knee hockey. It’s a great thing to do if you have children or younger relatives.
You can still be physical and land some cheap shots, but it requires none of the actual athletic ability needed for hockey. It’s a win-win.
3. Take care of your team sweater
A hockey fan’s pride is their team’s sweater. It’s not something to cast aside or to shrug off.
First, you must decide what kind of sweater you will purchase. Most people buy a sweater with their favorite player’s name on the back, but I would recommend buying a neutral jersey with no name on the back.
Secondly, you must decide what version of the sweater you’re going to get. Home and away are safe bets, but if your team has an awesome alternate or Winter Classic version, buy it.
Once you have the sweater, you need to make sure you set out a special place for it. It can’t be hung up with all of your normal shirts. No, it at least least needs to placed with your formal clothes, if not in its own drawer.
Lastly, remember to wash it at least once a week. Seriously, that last part is really important.
4. Familiarize yourself with the new divisions and playoff format
You may know the NHL has new divisions and a playoff format, but it was announced last season, allowing fans plenty of time to forget the details.
No need worry. USA Today has a wonderful and informative infographic of the new divisions. They even compare the new alignment to the old divisions.
The new playoff format is a little more confusing. The Explainer does a great job explaining how the last season’s playoffs would’ve looked if the league was using the new format.