For no reason at all, here are some Norwich City supporters. They're into the holidays. - Paul Thomas
In this sponsored post, I offer some hockey-related gift ideas for the current holiday season.
With Christmas and Boxing Day literally less than three days away, it may be a little late to get a gift in time for either holiday for the people you care about. However, who says you have to give a gift on a specified day? The person in question should be accepting of a gift regardless of whether it's December 25, December 28, or January 2. And who's to say that the person in question is someone else? It could be you who deserves to get a little something after dealing with the stresses of the holiday. And if you're reading this site, you are likely a hockey fan and you or someone you know may be interested in something hockey-related. That's where I come in through this sponsored post. Here are a few gift ideas that should help you out whether you're looking for something at the last minute or thinking about getting something you want after the holidays.
A Book: Game Misconduct: Alan Eagleson and the Corruption of Hockey by Russ Conway. Considering we're still in the middle of the Incredibly Stupid Lockout of 2012, there have been more than a few complaints about how we (the fan) will have to suffer through further labor-ownership strife in the future. There was a time when the NHL and the NHLPA didn't have any lockouts or strikes. However, that time was when the union was led by Alan Eagleson, one of the most corrupt and self-serving people in all of professional sport in North America. A few words cannot do his justice; that's where this book comes in. Russ Conway's incredibly detailed investigative report of all of Eagleson's numerous and astonishing misdeeds is a must-read for anyone interested in the NHL, the PA, it's history (this is well before Bettman and Goodenow), and investigative reports. I read this book earlier this year and it's provided significant perspective as far as why there has been so many issues over the last two decades.
A Movie: Slap Shot. In this day and age, I shouldn't be recommending this movie. It's offensive. It's crude. It's obscene. It's old. Paul Newman is a seller of lemonade, not an actor. It remains the best hockey movie ever made. Screenwriter Nancy Dowd put together a legendary screenplay based on the many true tales her brother Ned from the minor pro scene in the 1970s. The action in the movie actually is believable as several minor pro players were involved in the production. And as nasty as things get dialogue wise, they remain memorable to the day ranging from Newman's Reggie Dunlop to Princeton-graduate Ned Braden to the soothing talk of Dave "Killer" Carlson to cult icons, the Hanson brothers. (Fun fact: Two of the three Carlson brothers were hansons in the movie. Jack Carlson was too busy playing for the WHA Edmonton team to film.) If you're old enough and not easily offended, then watch this movie. Again, no one's made a hockey movie as good as this ever since. The link takes you to the Amazon page for the 25th Anniversary Edition DVD. I'm sure it's available on Netflix if you're into that. Either way, you'll catch the spirit of the thing. (P.S. The sequels never happened. I refuse to believe that they did.)
A Game: NHL Eastside Hockey Manager 2007. If you want to play a hockey game, EA Sports' NHL series is the one to get into. However, let's say you're more interested While the NHL games have a franchise mode, perhaps you're looking for something more traditional as a simulator. The old standby PC sim was Eastside Hockey Manager, which led to development by Sports Interactive, who still develops and produces Football Manager. It's text-based, but you have the chance to run a NHL team, a junior team, or a European team. You can run the Devils or some team in the Q; whatever you wish. You can get the game for free (the link to CNet's download page), so you lose nothing if you or whoever you're giving this to discovers it's not their thing. There's an active online community at The Blue Line so if you're interested in roster updates (again, the game's from 2006), graphical changes, and other such modifications, then you'll be set. As an aside, if you're into hockey sims, keep an eye out for OOTP's Franchise Hockey Manager 2013 in the coming months. As far as I know, it's the only game that's going to have Corsi and Fenwick so it's got that going for it.
A Piece of Devils Merchandise One Would Not Expect: Boomerang Tools New Jersey Devils 16 oz. Hammer. I have no idea about the quality of the hammer. I'm really pointing this out because you can buy a hammer with the Devils logo on it. I was genuinely surprised to find that out.
Actually, gag aside, I would see things like New York Giants piggy banks in local sporting goods stores and wonder why there weren't things like that for the Devils. Lo and behold, the NHL Shop has all that online. So you too can get an insulated lunchbox, a flag, a pair of binoculars, a jar of 175 golf tees, and all manner of apparel and drinkware - even a chrome stein. You probably won't see it in stores, but thankfully there's an online store for all this.
A Television: OK, this post is sponsored by Samsung, but I'd like to recommend a Samsung 1080p LCD TV anyway. I've had a 550 series model for over two years now, well before Samsung and SBN ever had a deal. The picture quality has remained fantastic for all kinds of sports, games,and movies. I've never had a problem moving it, hooking it up, or using it for long or short intervals. It looks just as good in small rooms as it does in large ones, and it's easy on my eyes even as I have my laptop in front of me typing away in Gamethreads while watching Devils games. The specific model is out of date, but you can get later 550 series models for the same size for a reasonable amount of money depending on where you shop. I think you'll enjoy it. Samsung's own site has the latest 550 series model for under $500 right now, so you can use that as a point of comparison.
These are just a few of the gift ideas available for the hockey-favoring person in your life or yourself, presuming that you like hockey. With the ongoing Incredibly Stupid Lockout of 2012, the gift we all want is still being denied. But we can still get something for someone else or ourselves that is tangentially related to the game. Feel free to use them, use them as inspiration for other ideas, or not use them at all and do something else. Feel free to share what you're giving that's hockey related or other gift ideas in the comments. Thank you for reading.