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An English rose in Georgia: hockey on ice

An English rose in Georgia: hockey on ice


A good friend dating back to my college days and I have challenged each other to try new things as we get older (we refuse to use the word older). This ranges from simple things like trying a new recipe or reading a new author to planning an African safari. Most of the new stuff we do is somewhere in the middle, which brings me to how we ended up at the Enmarket arena in Savannah watching the Ghost Pirates.

Let me clarify one thing before I get into the interesting world of hockey on ice. In Great Britain the word hockey is used to describe what Americans call field hockey. Furthermore, traditionally most British hockey players have been schoolchildren, and hockey often involves freezing on a muddy playing field during the formative years, especially in private schools. Yes, it can simply be described as children aggressively chasing a ball armed with hockey sticks. This seems to be on the decline since my school days and according to recent data only one in twenty British children play hockey today.

What Americans call hockey should always be called ice hockey in Britain. To give you an idea of ​​how unusual ice hockey is in my native country, statistics show that even today in Britain hockey is played by twelve times more people than ice hockey. Statistics from the International Ice Hockey Federation also show that 43 times more people play ice hockey in the US than in Britain!

So how did it all start? Ice hockey first began in the frigid winters of Canada, but the sport quickly became popular in the United States in the late 1800s. The first recorded indoor match in the US was played on Christmas Day 1894 in New York City.

At that time, the game was still largely informal, with no standardized rules or equipment. Players used sticks of wood or metal, and a puck could be made from frozen cow dung or even a rock.

As the game's popularity grew, so did the need for standardization.

The Amateur Hockey Association of the United States was founded in 1920 to regulate and promote the sport, and the first official United States national championship was held that same year.

The game continued to develop and become more organized throughout the 20th century, with the introduction of protective equipment, such as helmets and face masks, and changes to the rules to improve safety and fairness.

After World War II, hockey in America experienced a period of rapid growth and innovation.

The National Hockey League (NHL) expanded to include teams in the United States, and the sport began to gain mainstream popularity. The 1980 Miracle on Ice, in which the United States national team defeated the heavily favored Soviet team in the Olympic semifinals, further fueled interest in the sport and inspired a new generation of players and fans.

The Savannah Ghost Pirates, an expansion team of the East Coast Hockey League, took to the ice in November 2022. It's great that we have our own professional ice hockey team, right here in the subtropical climate of Coastal Georgia. By all accounts, the Ghost Pirates are a big hit here in Greater Savannah, and they recently announced a multi-million dollar training facility with two ice rinks and a restaurant in Port Wentworth, less than 20 miles from Richmond Hill. As this will be open to the general public, the number of Georgian children learning to skate and developing the skills and passion for the game is only likely to increase.

I won't pretend to fully understand the rules of ice hockey, but it seems to me like soccer on ice with a super-fast moving puck instead of a ball, sticks instead of kicks, and a lot more physical contact. It often happens that the contact becomes heated and an argument arises.

If any of the serious unwritten rules of etiquette are broken, such as the other team snowballing the goalie (a quick side-stop that throws ice shavings into the goalie's face), you can be pretty sure you'll get a bench-clearing for everyone you will experience. There is an anonymous saying that hockey players have fire in their hearts and ice in their veins, and it really shows in every game. More information can be found at www.usahockey. com andwww.statista.comDespite this drama and testosterone-filled antics on the ice, I think it's really great family-friendly fun. My whole family, including the granddaughters, enjoy spending an evening with the Ghost Pirates.

I'll leave you with a great and memorable quote from comedian Rodney Dangerfield that really sums up the sport: I went to a fight the other day and a hockey game broke out!

God bless America!

Lesley grew up in London, England and made Georgia her home in 2009. You can contact her at [email protected] or through her full-service marketing agency




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