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The San Francisco Shamrocks Ha! | August
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shamrocks
(The San Francisco Sharks take on the San Diego Mariners)

I think there was a real opportunity for me to become a really good dresser about 4 years ago, working at a financial services firm in midtown Manhattan. But seeing as that window has closed, and I'll probably be wearing whatever I've accumulated to this point for the next 5-10 years, the internet serves no real purpose for me.

I don't cruise websites looking for great shirts, wondering if those pants would fit the same way my old ones do. Trying to find deals on shoes. I don't really even look at the news even though I know I probably should. I guess if something's important enough I'll find out about it. Right now, and not because of the internet, I'm aware that the US was downgraded over the weekend and London is burning. I don't really know more than that about either issue but neither do people who troll CNN.com or watch Fox News - you only know what you're told. Or repeat, actually. You only repeat what you're told.

But with hockey, for some reason, I get lost in a wormhole. The thing is there's nothing going on. Even during the season there's nothing going on. Here's the NHL season in a nutshell:

Winning Streaks, Losing Streaks, Injuries, Suspension Debate, Jam, Battling, 50 in 50?, Rookie of the Year, Rumors, Presidents Race, Relocation, Bottom of the League, Fight for 8th, 3 Playoff Storylines.

I'm pretty sure Tim Panachio could use a game recap from his previous collection of work every single night this year if he just were to update the names.

But there's something I do like - the history of the game. And I'm not talking stories about guys from the 20's who talked like wise guys and smoked cigars on the bench, I'm talking about teams and cities, defunct franchises and leagues, and current players' personal Rudy-like stories about their ascent to the pros out of no where. I like features. But in a world where they hardly exist enough to satisfy my appetite, and even when they do they're usually filled with bullshit, cookie-cutter quotes, I like searching for my own history.

To that extent I find myself chasing links on Wikipedia quite often. Starting off at the Philadelphia Quakers, in this case, who went 4-36-4 in their only season in the NHL, and ending up discovering an entire hockey league I never heard of before - The Pacific Hockey League. A league that tried to take advantage of established markets that were abandoned by the WHA in 1978. Needless to say, it didn't last long. But it was a league with some teams in some great cities with some fantastic names that still actually exist in some form today, and some sick uniforms:

Long Beach Sharks
Los Angeles Blades
Phoenix Roadrunners
San Diego Hawks
San Diego Mariners
San Francisco Shamrocks
Spokane Flyers
Tucson Rustlers

And then you look into it a little further and see that after its first season the league must have been encouraged by something and expanded from 4 to 6 teams! And in that second year 42 year old Willie O'Ree played for the freaking Sand Diego Hawks!! Over 20 years after he made his debut as the first African-American in the NHL!! Crazy, right!?!

If those guys could talk, the stories they'd tell, I'm sure.

Anyway, my point is, if you're a real hockey fan, a true fan of the sport, you should be able to name at least 30 of the 60 teams in the Canadian Hockey League. And if you don't know which 3 leagues make up that league then reallocate some of your Facebook "Oh my god she's pregnant" time and devote it to Wikipedia. Start with an Oskars Bartulis search and when you can disprove the rumor that Georges Vezina had 22 children in 3 clicks you'll know you're getting there.