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the Gauntlet

the official student-produced news site for Saint Stephen's Episcopal School

the Gauntlet

the official student-produced news site for Saint Stephen's Episcopal School

the Gauntlet

Hockey is the best sport in the country right now

Staff Writer Ricardo Perazzolo compares and contrasts sports, and makes the claim that Hockey is the best sport.
When it comes to contemporary athletics, no sport is on the come-up quite like hockey. Art by Sarbeth Wester

Everyone who follows sports hears the old heads talking about how the sport was better back in their day. When I was little I watched Neymar and to this day I’ll defend just how good he is while my dad defends Ronaldo Nazario better known as R9 (a Brazilian soccer legend during the 90’s and early 2000’s), and says he’s miles above Neymar. I always assumed that nostalgia is what made my dad feel that way. That watching his favorite players when he was a kid made him believe that the players of his childhood were better than today’s players. 

However, everything changed for me when Tom Brady, the most victorious player in NFL history claimed, “I think there’s a lot of mediocrity in today’s NFL. I don’t see the excellence I saw in the past.”

Brady’s statement forced me to reflect on the sports I love, in order to see if his claim had any truth to it in the sports world beyond the NFL. 

I wanted to explore, looking to see if any sports contradicted  Brady’s belief, and increased excellence. The conclusion I came to, after reading widely about the progress in other sports is that Brady’s right—  when it comes to almost all sports, there has been a decline in the overall excellence of the games, except when it comes to hockey.

Hockey is one of the only sports that is on the rise when it comes to excellence. The sport, it seems, is on the climb in every single possible aspect. The talent is increasing, and in its current form, the sport boasts arguably the best players that have ever been.

, Connor Bedard, an 18-year-old player from Canada, was the first overall pick in the most recent draft, and one of the best talents the game of hockey has ever seen. Bedard did something so ridiculous that the greatest hockey player ever, Wayne Gretzky, said, “I could never do what he did tonight.” 

The rookie scored what is called a Michigan goal, better known as a Michi (when a player lifts the puck from the ice onto his stick when he is behind the net and scores on a lacrosse-style shot).

Gretzky also talked about Connor Mcdavid, who was the first overall pick in the 2015 NHL draft. The Great One said, “It’s always special when nobody else is close… You can always sit around and have bar talk about comparisons but the reality is nobody is even close to Connor.”

What’s more, the viewership of the NHL is at an all time high. In an article written by Sports Business Journal Alex Silverman talked about how “total viewership is up 12% through the first 123 games of the season from the same stretch in 2022-23.” 

That’s a really big increase, especially when you compare it to the NFL, who saw a 7% increase from the previous season. It speaks to the overall quality and improvement of the game itself.  

SportsPro Media covered how the value of the NHL’s rights in the US have more than tripled since ESPN and TNT took over NBC’s streaming rights. While the NHL is still nowhere close to the NFL, NBA, or even the MLB in terms of audience size and revenue generated, they are still climbing steadily, and that’s due to the fact that they are the only league where the historic excellence of the sport is not only being maintained but being increased. 

In organizations like the NBA, and NFL the rules have changed so much that it takes away from the players ability to be great. Many say that players are fraid to be penalized due to unfair rules or bad refereeing. For example in today’s NFL, defenders are punished for delivering hits which used to be considered normal. 

However the NHL hasn’t experienced this to the same degree. While there have been rule changes in order to enhance player safety the NHL is the only league that has stuck to its roots, allowing the excellence of the sport to thrive.

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About the Contributor
Ricardo Perazzolo
Ricardo Perazzolo, Staff Writer
Ricardo Perazzolo is a senior in the gauntlet with this being the first year under his belt as a member of the media staff. He loves to cook, and he also loves reading.  His favorite movies are The Gladiator, The Dark Knight, and Speed Racer, and his favorite show is The Peaky Blinders. He has one dog, and his favorite color is blue.


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