Let’s play summer hockey — the best time of year to walk into a refrigerated rink.
I miss covering hockey as well as playing it. The one thing my private drop-in skates have over the NHL is we do it year-round — we get to play the game through the summer when a beer in the parking lot completes what we think is an extraordinary event.
The cornonavirus pandemic has shut down the NHL and my local ice rink in Centennial. When the scare is over and life returns to normal, hockey at its highest level (and lowest) will probably return at the best time of year.
Remember those deep Avalanche playoff runs from 1996 to 2002, when Denver’s newest professional team played into late May or mid-June six times in seven years? Fans showed up at Pepsi Center in T-shirts, shorts and sneakers, and they only needed a hockey “sweater” to stay warm inside the electric arena.
Win or lose, gunning for the Stanley Cup in the Mile High City summertime was always a memorable experience. This year, that could unfold through July and August, and perhaps even September.
For the seemingly unified NHL and NHL Players Association, cancelling what was left of the 2020-21 season doesn’t seem like much of an option unless the government demands it. Both sides of the NHL would rather push back the season into the summer, and that began in earnest last week…