Frozen Grounds: How to Watch a Hockey Game

Mar 28, 2012; Vancouver, British Columbia,CANADA; Vancouver Canucks forward Alexandre Burrows (14) checks Colorado Avalanche forward Jamie McGinn (11) during the first period at Rogers Arena. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-US PRESSWIRE

Watching a hockey game is a bit different because of how an ice rink is set up. It's not rocket science, but typical sports logic doesn't always apply, either.

[Note: This is more for those new, or relatively new, to the game. If you are a regular devotee of the sport, please feel free to add in your own suggestions and/or recommendations in the comments.]

Let's say you've gone to see a couple of Seattle Thunderbirds' or Everett Silvertips' games. Or, maybe, you've flipped through stations and caught part of a hockey game on TV. But, as you're not a serious hockey fan, per se, you're having problems following the puck. Or, perhaps you've watched hockey live, but have found that watching it on TV isn't that great.

So, how do people actually watch hockey?

It's like watching baseball for the very first time - you don't actually watch the ball that's being thrown, since you're either watching the batter, the catcher, and/or the pitcher.

The trick to watching hockey is you follow pick out a player or two and start watching them. Although, you'll have to pick out a few players to watch, as players are constantly entering and leaving the ice. So pick out a number (or two or three), and then follow them. In time, you'll find it easier to follow the puck.

And if you have found that hockey is worse to watch on TV than it is to watch live, you're right. It really is. It's not as bad since the introduction of HD TVs, but nothing can come close to comparing to watching a hockey game live.

If you do go to a game live, and you've either not been to games often, or if you haven't been at all, then here's my suggestion for seating. Discard the standard sports mentality of center ice having the best seats, or even sitting on the glass, because they often really aren't. That might work for football and soccer, but the glass on top of the boards creates its own set of problems.

When you sit on the glass, you're unable to see the corners of the ice on your side. The farther back you move from the glass at center ice, the less the view of the corners closest to you are obstructed. Even at the top row up in the nosebleeds, however, you still may not be able to see the entire sheet of ice.

The best places to watch the game live are in the corners or the ends of the ice rink. The higher up you sit, the better you can see plays develop. And you can see the entire sheet of ice from those areas with little to no obstruction from the glass. If a hockey player isn't playing, then he or she will typically sit in a corner either at the top of the lower bowl or in the second deck, if possible.

One word of caution, if you do decide to sit on the glass - which are the most expensive seat in the arena, just so you know. Please do not bang your hands on the glass. It's simply rude behavior. The players ignore it, and the fans in the seats just want to get you thrown out over it.

Playoff hockey has started for the Everett Silvertips, the Portland Winterhawks, the Tri-City Americans, and the Spokane Chiefs, if you want to catch a game live. (The Seattle Thunderbirds did not make it into playoffs this year.) The NHL season ends on 8 April, so there's plenty to see on TV. That same weekend that the NHL ends is also the NCAA Frozen Four, which will also likely be televised.

So there's plenty of hockey still going on if you want to take in a game.

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