Joel Quenneville has clearly come to grips with the fact that there may not be a 2012-13 NHL season and it’s time for you to realize this as well. Acceptance is the first step to bring you towards maturity and mastery. This is where I come in because clearly you need your hand held through this process. Wimp.

The following guide will not only give your life meaning, the strength to bench press 230 pounds and a Buffalo Wing craving, it will give you insight on who you ought to be supporting during this NHL-free year.

There’s a world of hockey out there, it’s time to open your mind(s). Let’s begin.

Location, Location, Location

The obvious way to get your hockey fix is picking up a map and figuring out where there may be hockey in your neighborhood. For some this will be more difficult than others. If you live in Santa Monica, Cal., you are more likely to be locally hockey starved than someone in Medicine Hat, Alta. Provided you can’t move to a place more prone to hockey games busting out — as our hypothetical Santa Monica native will find out — something like the NCAA’s PAC 8 hockey league will do you well.

The lockout provides us a wonderful chance to put our consciences at ease and help out the noble amateur. Check out your local junior team or a semi-pro team. Perhaps it would tickle your fancy to get liquored up once a week and become die hards of a particular beer league. Sure, the third example won’t evoke the fire of a Canucks/Bruins game unless Jim’s Motor Parts really hates Sandra’s Country Café, BUT it’ll be a game, and that’s what you want. Amateur hockey at large is phenomenal. Get in there.

If there’s a local team you can be devoted to, devote yourself. Get a tattoo (or jersey, whatever. Wimp.), memorize the roster, create and run a fanatical Facebook page. It will massively enhance your year (or more) off from the NHL.

Learn your family tree

Provided you are North American — and from what I understand, the vast majority of our readership is — your family probably came from another part of the world. Your family wound up on this rock by way of another rock and now there is no hockey on this rock. However, you could very well have hockey going on at the rock from whence you came.

Trace your family history back to its roots. Does that city/town/village/hamlet/pit of evil have a hockey team? Perhaps your great-grandfather played for a particular hockey club in the old country. PIGGY BACK OFF OF THEM! Their success is practically your success, so why not? Plus, you now have a way to drop elitist sentiment on your most obnoxious friends who have no hockey team or a lesser substitute. Revenge is a dish best served cold, hockey is played on ice. Match. Made. In. Heaven.

“Oh, your team is locked out? Well, my team just won their last game 6-2 in the Deutsche Eishockey Liga. Did I meantion I speak German and you don’t? ‘Cause I do. Also, you owe me money.”

How vindicating is that? Time to ask Mom and Dad where Grandma and Grandpa came from. Your hockey future requires it. Tell them I say hi.

Be Original

This part can’t be stressed enough, though for the sake of clarity it is a clause subservient to the previous conditions. Please, for the sake of all of us, don’t choose a bloody front-runner team to give yourself a little bit of joy in your life. Hockey fandom is meant to be excruciating, tedious and filled with regret and I’ll be damned if I unknowingly enable you to dodge that part of a rich, fulfilling life loaded with suffering.

When I say ‘Be Original’ I mean please don’t choose teams — in Europe, for example — because you see them in the Spengler Cup and have determined that they’re pretty good.

HC Davos beat Canada’s Q-team again? Good for you. Excuse me while I go throw up about something completely unrelated to your smugness.

Oh, you happen to be a die hard of the SM-liiga team (fictional) that picked up Crosby, Stamkos, Weber, Selanne and the rest of the NHL’s All-World team? Please, tell me more about how they totally beat the team with Colby Armstrong’s younger brother. I’m hanging off of every word.

If at any point you find yourself propagating the above conversations and getting the above replies, you have FAILED in your quest to properly choose a team to cheer for. Pick a team because they have bonkers jerseys. Pick a team because they have a player who shares your last name. Pick a team because an embarrassing Google search you’d prefer not to re-live brought you to their website.

The more creatively obscure the better.

Above all else, be a good person

It has been just about a year since the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl plane crash that killed 43 people, including the entire team and coaching staff. In 2012-13, seemingly against all odds, the team will resume play with an entirely new roster.

In addition to whatever team you have determined to follow devoutly, you should be cheering for Lokomotiv Yaroslavl to rule the world.

On the surface, the roster has roughly a dozen players which boast an NHL team on their resume and has a decent amount of talent. Symbolically, it’s spectacular that there will be hockey games played by this franchise at all.

Everything about this team is likeable and you should cheer for them every day. I will be, and I encourage you to join me with the good guys.

Conclusions

You are now equipped to go out into a brave, new NHL-free world wherein you develop a new tie to a hockey team. You will explore your neighborhood, learn your family tree, be original, use your heart to cheer for Lokomotiv Yaroslavl and you will be a better person for doing all of these things.

The world of hockey is expansive, exciting and enchanting. Use the lockout not to mourn hockey’s loss, but to learn about a world of which you stand to know more.

You will enjoy what finds you.

Feel free to leave your new (or old) non-NHL allegiances below, on twitter or on our Facebook page.

I wish you all luck in your quest.

Comments (30)

  1. What a cruddy year to be a Minnesota sports fan. We finally have some hope on the horizon for the Wild, only to be faced with a lockout. Go cheer for a different sports team? Twins? Shooting for another near 100 loss season. Vikings? 3-13 last year, talk sounds good about them, but we all know they aren’t going to the playoffs. Timberwolves? About the same as the Vikings. Anyway, I am first and foremost a hockey fan. Good thing I live in the State of Hockey. Will have to get my hockey fix from minor league, college, and high school teams. Not quite the same tho, especially when we have so much to look forward to with the Wild.

    • If you’re first and foremost a hockey fan there are 49 other states in the country where you’d be worse off

  2. I just bookmarked http://en.khl.ru

  3. Fer about a hundred bucks me and the gf and the two kids can go see the Vancouver Giants AND get fed, and watch the future Evander Kanes and Milan Luciceses etc. And these kids go full out the whole game. It’ll be ok……………

  4. Victoria Royals!!!!

  5. “If you live in Santa Monica, Cal., you are more likely to be locally hockey starved than someone in Medicine Hat, Alta. Provided you can’t move to a place more prone to hockey games busting out — as our hypothetical Santa Monica native will find out — something like the NCAA’s PAC 8 hockey league will do you well. ”

    If they want to watch pro, they have a couple options (not perfect ones, mind you, but options no less):

    They could watch Ontario Reign games in the ECHL. 50 miles.

    OR

    They could watch Bakersfield Condors games (also ECHL). 112 miles.

    • Also use it as an excuse to go to Vegas for the weekend:

      Las Vegas Wranglers (ECHL), a mere 297 miles!

  6. Sure there are three AHL teams in Illinois: the Peoria Rivermen (go Rivs go!), Rockford IceHogs and Chicago Wolves, and sure, you could get all spendy with their stuff.

    Or you could enjoy junior hockey with the Springfield Jr. Blues at half the price. You just have to drive a little is all, and possibly enjoy sliiiightly lower-quality beer. But hey, it’s hockey.

  7. There’s a reason I cheer for four teams. You never know what’s going to happen. Go Crunch (nee Admirals)! Hyvaa Suomi!

  8. I’m torn here, I can go watch the Hitmen and will, but it’s a good opportunity to support the AJHL. The problem is they’re called the Calgary Canucks, how do I rally with that team name?

    • Whoops! Hitmen are from the WHL (better than the NHL most nights) and AJHL is Alberta Juniors Hock…..

    • If the Canucks thing really gets you there’s a second AJHL team in Calgary. The Mustangs (formerly Royals) play out of Father Bauer arena, as do the Dinos.

  9. Cawlidge Hawkeee is going to be nationally televised, which will help!!

  10. Hannover Scorpions it is (and yes they are named after the German rock band).

  11. Well… if they could only hold off the lockout for a year the new home of the Philadelphia… err… Adirondack… I mean Allentown Phantoms would be ready for me to frequent this winter.

    If you like watching grass grow, you’ll also enjoy this live construction feed: http://www.mcall.com/news/local/arena/. And it’s Allentown, so if you watch long enough you bound to catch a mugging also.

  12. Well, as a german, there’ll still be hockey for me! And if the NHL goes on strike, my Team (Mannheim) will get Hecht and Seidenberg for sure and most likely Goc too!

  13. Alberta Junior A hockey for this guy. My drunken cheers will be directed towards the Fort Mcmurray Oil Barons.

  14. WHL games are usually really entertaining. I’ll subsist off of those for awhile. The Vancouver Giants play in an arena just outside of downtown so it’s accessible.

  15. I just moved to China – Shanghai, actually – and was expecting a dreadfully hockey-less year ahead of me.

    Surprisingly, what do I discover? Shanghai has a hockey team! Admittedly, a very (very) bad hockey team, but a hockey team nonetheless.

    Who cares if they lost ALL 36 of their games last season and placed last in the league? Go China Dragon!

  16. It’s Modo Hockey for me. If I can’t cheer for the team that has Joe Sakic in the front office, I’ll cheer for the one that has Peter Forsberg instead.

    Also, go MSU Hellcats and Bozeman Icedogs!

  17. I have no choice but to wait until the greedy owners feel that they have punished all the loyal fans and have more money and control over all of us.Rich pricks!

  18. It will be more Hitmen Hockey for me but, to spice things up, the Grizzly Adams Wolfsburg of the DEL will be getting my unbridled support. How can you not love that logo?

  19. Go Belfast Giants!

    Logo: Finn MacCool with a hockey stick.

    Sold.

  20. For me, it will be an occasional Hershey Bears’ game even if they are 2 hours from home. They are playing in Verizon Center one day and Caps season tickets get tickets to that one automatically. And I just got tickets for a November game. I admit live hockey games will be few and far between this season due to distance.

    And I’ll follow the exploits of my favorite players who are now in the KHL, for the most part.

  21. Hey would you mind letting me know which webhost you’re working with? I’ve loaded your blog in
    3 different browsers and I must say this blog loads a lot faster then most.
    Can you suggest a good hosting provider at a fair price?
    Kudos, I appreciate it!

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