When people think of hockey, they immediately think of Canada. However, that should not be the case. Hockey in the United States is growing. This past weekend USA Hockey celebrated Hockey Weekend across America, culminating with Hockey Day in America on Sunday February 19, 2012. Just like Hockey Day in Canada the week before, Hockey Day in America features stories about the game of hockey in the United States and how American born players were influenced to play the game of hockey.
Sunday featured three regional games on NBC; The Detroit Red Wings put their 22 game home winning streak on the line against the San Jose Sharks. The Pittsburgh Penguins took on the Buffalo Sabres, while the Chicago Blackhawks would face the red hot St. Louis Blues. The late game featured the Stanley Cup Champions Boston Bruins battling the Minnesota Wild. It was a thrilling day of hockey in the United States as Detroit extended their home winning streak to 23 games. The Chicago Blackhawks put their goalie troubles behind them for now, and the Buffalo Sabres are showing what you can do when your team is out of the playoff picture. The Wild showed the champs a thing or two about playing hard and tough hockey.
Yesterday was a day to celebrate the game of hockey. Hockey in the United States has been growing rapidly over the years. Hockey in America took off after the 1980 men’s USA Hockey team beat the Soviet Union in the Olympics. They would go on to win gold after defeating Finland in the finals. The initial success of Team USA brought hockey in America to the fore front. Many young kids wanted to play the game and to represent Team USA at the Olympics or World Championship.
While in Canada, young kids growing up on the ice dreamed about lifting the Stanley Cup first and winning a gold medal second. Getting to the National Hockey League is the priority for young hockey players. However, many years have passed after the initial success of Team USA and participation in hockey declined in the United States. Hockey does not get the respect it deserves in the United States. Football, baseball, and basketball will always be ahead of hockey.
Hockey in the United States is on the rise again thanks to Team USA’s silver medal in 2002 and 2010 in the Olympics. Young American born hockey players want to lace up the skates again and play hockey. Not only do they have the dream of representing their country, but also playing in the National Hockey League. Hockey Weekend across America helps celebrates the game of hockey.
Each year USA Hockey wants to promote the game of hockey in the United States. Only by more exposure to the game of hockey will grow in the United States. Right now over 400,000 men, women, and children play the sport of hockey in the United States. With more exposure and more abilities to access the game of hockey that number will grow.
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