Sunday, February 27, 2005

Does the U stand for Underworld?

The United Hockey League, a lower echelon hockey operation is finding itself more and more topping the sports broadcasts these days. With the NHL out of commission for this year and maybe beyond, sports programmers are scrambling for some news on all matters ice.

Normally the AHL would step in to fill the void, likewise the Junior leagues, but it would seem that they can't compete for time with the U. A league that not only makes the sports reports but can also claim some attention from the news departments as well. Turn on your local sports and along comes the U to fill the highlight (er lowlight maybe?) reel moments with everything but a mob hit.

The last couple of weeks has seen the U embrace NHL stars looking for a place to skate, suspend a coach for offering a bounty on the leagues all time goal scorer and feature a brawl filled game where a player attacked an opposing coach resulting in a suspension for life for one player. All in all a rather exciting couple of weeks for a league that most times can't even find time in The Hockey News.

More Slap Shot than ice capades, the U is an apparent throw back to the days of bare knuckle hockey, where as Conn Smythe would say "if you can't beat them in the alley, you can't beat them on the ice". When you feature teams called Trashers and Mechanics you really shouldn't expect a genteel passing game, but the knock em down, drag em out brand mad popular in the Paul Newman hockey epic. The U makes the AHL and Juniors look positively European by comparison.

One suspects that Tony Soprano's boy Anthony Jr., will be moving his hockey affiliation from the Devils to the Trashers come the next season of the hit TV show. For the UHL talks the kind of language that the boys at the Bada Bing would understand. Fire up the satalite dish there Silvio and break out some foil, the boys wanna watch the U, it's their kind of hockey!

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