2003 - 2004
In The Zone
By Jim Scott
It's hockey season and the Greensboro Generals are off to a good start. Just in case you've ever wondered what hockey is all about, maybe this will help:
Hockey is soccer played with a rock. It's baseball. You score by swinging a stick. It's basketball. Five guys aiming for a goal. It's NASCAR. It's goes around and around and whenever somebody crashes, the crowd goes nuts. It's football, and everybody out there is an ornery cornerback.
Hockey is a dogfight in a frozen sky. It's chess, stoic kings at either end, pieces twisting in the middle. It's guys with eight letters in their last names and none of them vowels. Guys who go by Grimer, Turkey, Rack and Schmyrzy, Geno, Turnsy, Drummer and Fort. Guys more comfortable with Gleason than Timberlake. Hockey is Daniel Berthiaume, nine NHL seasons tucked under his pads, leading the league in several categories simply because he loves to play the and it shows. Berthiaume's other gig is the world's second best job: self-employed charter boat captain. Bert spends most of his life on top of water, solid or otherwise. Hockey is a coach from a place called Thunder Bay and an opponent named Tootoo, whom we all miss hating to play against.
Hockey is fights. And after the fights, two battered combatants locked up in glass booths pressing ice to their fists and screaming curses at one another. Or, the same two guys asking how each other's family is doing and reviewing holiday travel plans because they're both from the same province or once shared shifts in the Juniors.
Hockey is an equipment manager who waves you onto the ice between periods to look for some guy's tooth, saying "If we get it before the Zamboni gets it, they can stick it back in." Or, a guy with an Ivy League education, a nice suit and a jaw wired shut, looking wistfully at a post-game meal he'd need a blender to taste.
This isn't urban legend stuff. Ask a hockey player and he'll tell you it's true. Or she will. The Carolina Angels play great hockey, too. Hockey is about tradition and memories. It's about respect for the game and those who've played it. It's about a big, silver mug called the Kelly Cup, that goes to the ECHL champ every year, named after another big, silver mug, Commissioner Emeritus Pat Kelly, who's a familiar face at Generals' games.
Hockey is a fraternity of bent noses and straight honor. And hockey is right here, all winter long, at the Greensboro Coliseum. For anything else you'd like to know about hockey, click on at www.greensborogenerals.com.