No Street Hockey at the Islamic Games?

It really doesn’t surprise me that there won’t be any street hockey matches for the 2009 Islamic Games in New Jersey.  What can I say, most Muslims just don’t seem to play hockey at all.  This is something I’ve been noticing all of my life.  Whenever I go to my cousins’ house, they’re up for playing either basketball, soccer, football, and of course, cricket.  Others are into baseball.  Or tennis.  Or badminton.  Or volleyball.  But hockey?  Forget about it.

I’m one of the coordinators for my Mosque’s Youth Club and we usually play basketball every Sunday because that’s what most of the kids want to play.  I always join in even though my shot accuracy is terrible, lol.  I’ll play just about any sport, even if I’m not very good at it, but roller hockey is my favorite sport.  I remember the look on one of the Youth coordinator’s face when my Muslim friend and I told him that we were going to play hockey after Jummah prayer.  It was one of those looks that your fellow Muslim brother/sister gives you before telling you something is haram.  But he didn’t say it was haram, alhamdullilah lol :)

I Love roller hockey.  I Love skating around and turning; I Love stick-handling, passing, and deking out the goalie.  The fast pace of the game is just so much fun.  In my feeble attempts to attract my fellow Muslim brothers and sisters to hockey, I tell them it’s not that different from soccer!  You know, instead of kicking a ball into a net, you’re hitting it with a stick.  And you’re on roller blades.  Okay, maybe they’re not completely alike, but it’s still a fun sport!

Anyway, my friends and I used to play roller hockey almost every single day when we were in high school.  After we’d get home from school, we would go out to the tennis court and play hockey.  About two months ago, we started to play hockey again after about three or four years!  Now, we play at least two times a week.  It’s really great to be playing again, especially when I’m playing with my friends.  We don’t play a rough game — we never have — because we know we would like to wake up the next morning with our arms and legs intact.  I never played ice hockey, even though I’ve ice skated a lot before.  My brother played for a league and it was quite physical, which is one of the reasons I didn’t want to play it.  I always like to joke that I’m better than my brother, but in all honesty, he’s extremely talented, masha’Allah.  He led his league in points and goals, and he scored the game-winning goal to win his team the championship.

As for the NHL, some of my friends are still really into it, but I can’t get into it anymore.  None of my favorite players are playing anymore.  Even my playing style today still has influences of Eric Lindros and John Leclair, who were both my favorite players.  Recently, however, my brother told me about this fellow playing for the Washington Capitals:  Alexander Ovechkin.  I heard people talking about him so much that I finally decided to look him up on YouTube.  And wow, I think I’m going to start watching NHL games just to see him play.  Watch the video above and check out the goal he scores at 2:36.  It’s insane!  It actually reminds me of one of my “memorable” hockey moments, lol.

Ok, true story.  I played for a roller hockey league back in high school.  My dad, with his Pakistani mustache, was our team’s coach believe it or not, and my brother and I played on the same line together.  We won two championships, which my dad likes to attribute to himself.  “See what happens when you listen to me,” he says (and still says).   Anyway, so it was a tie game and it was taking forever for either team to score.  I believe it was in the third period, but our team shot the ball down in the other team’s end.  I started to skate really fast towards the ball, which was on the far right side of the net.  I honestly don’t know what I was thinking, lol.  There was no angle at the net at all, and yet I was charging for the ball.  As I got closer, I was just like, “oh God, this is going to suck.”  Because I knew I was going to wipe out since I’m horrible at stopping when I’m going that fast!  So, since I figured I was going to fall to the ground, I decided I was just going to shoot the ball towards the net.  Here goes:  3, 2, 1…

WACK!  I took a swing at the ball, cinematically flew to the ground, and slammed into the boards.  Yep, I made myself look like an idiot.  As my teammate came to help me get to my feet, he had this amazed look on his face.  And in his suburban accent, he was like, “Awh man, that was an awesome goal!  That was sick!”  I was just like, huh?!  It went in?!  But how?!  I had like no angle at all!  Apparently I did!  I admit though, I got lucky with that one.  I think my shot accuracy is pretty darn good, but hey, not that good!  So yeah, Ovechkin’s goal reminded me of that.

Anyway, it doesn’t bother me that there aren’t any street hockey tournaments at the Islamic Games, it just makes me wonder if Muslim interests in basketball and soccer are socialized.  It’s not just Muslims, I’ve also noticed non-Muslim Middle-Easterners and South Asians who are into basketball and soccer too, but I never see them playing hockey.  Maybe it’s cultural?  Or maybe if I go to Canada, I’ll see more Muslims into hockey (I was in Canada recently, but not long enough to see whether or not Muslims play hockey).

Oh well, I’m still excited about the Islamic Games.  I’m excited about being a coach.  I’ll wear my suit and tie and yell from the sidelines like Al Pacino :P

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8 Comments

  1. iMuslim said,

    March 2, 2009 at 4:29 pm

    Well, the few Canadian blogging bros I know are really into their hockey; both watching and playing! :)

    I was forced to play field hockey during secondary school. I didn’t enjoy it one bit! But that could be because I generally suck at team sports and we always played hockey outside, in the Winter term, on a muddy field. Yey. :/

  2. brokenmystic said,

    March 2, 2009 at 5:03 pm

    Salaam iMuslim,

    Hey, that’s great to know! Thanks for telling me. I guess I should get to know some more Canadian Muslim brothers, eh :)

    Oh yeah, field hockey. I don’t think I’ve ever played that. I know the rules are much different than street hockey. I think you can only use one side of the stick, right? I know field hockey is played a lot in Pakistan. In the West, though, field hockey is only played by women! Weird.

  3. March 2, 2009 at 7:00 pm

    Though I don’t know if there are hockey players in the NHL who are Muslim, the next time you can get here to Canada, you could check out the The Salaam Cup in Toronto [http://www.thesalaamcup.com], which is arena ball-hockey at its finest. The next tournament is July 17th, 18th and 19th, 2009.

  4. brokenmystic said,

    March 2, 2009 at 8:25 pm

    Eloquent Bohemian,

    Wow, thanks for sharing that link! I never heard of “The Salaam Cup” before! I’m so happy to see that they have a Muslim hockey tournament like that. I checked out some images and video clips, but they don’t seem to be on roller blades :( But hey, it’s still cool! I would totally Love to play.

    As for Muslim players in the NHL. I remember hearing that Martin Straka is Muslim, but I’m not 100% sure.

  5. Eloquent Bohemian said,

    March 2, 2009 at 10:22 pm

    Your welcome.
    After asking a few of my friends who are into hockey [even though a Canadian, I'm not really into hockey], someone suggested Ramzi Abid. He doesn’t play for the NHL any longer, he seems to be playing for the Swiss-A in Bern.
    Here he is on Wikipedia [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ramzi_Abid] and on the HockeyDataBase [http://www.hockeydb.com/ihdb/stats/pdisplay.php?pid=29408].

  6. M.Khan said,

    March 18, 2009 at 1:50 am

    Asalaam Wa’Alaikum,

    Brother i play ice hockey here in the UK, i’m the only muslim player in my league (and for that matter, the only asian/indian).

    I would have thought alot of brothers played in Canada since here in england, many brothers enjoy soccer which is our national sport, i know pakistan has a national ice hockey team, but like you said… it’s a very rare thing, especially in my country.

    If you would like to know more about my team, we’re called the Coventry Chargers

    In Dubai,l there are many ice hockey teams, the coach of my team lived in Dubai for many years and his daughter trained there as a child, she now plays for Great Britain nationally.

  7. Shawna said,

    March 29, 2009 at 2:38 pm

    lol. if we ever get together, i’ll make sure to get my son some equipment in advance so you can begin the tradition with a new generation. :)

  8. brokenmystic said,

    March 29, 2009 at 7:50 pm

    LOL Shawna. That sounds wonderful!


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