On Ice Hockey

The Coolest Game on Earth

n.b. Welcome to all those new individuals that have tuned into White Noise since last week! If you’re reading this, but haven’t subscribed, join hundreds of fellow thoughtful, curious folks by subscribing below. As a reminder, you can always find the full archive of my writing on my website: tomwhitenoise.com.

n.n.b. There’s nothing more satisfying than breaking down abstruse concepts into digestible frameworks. To me, grids are among the most useful frameworks out there. My friend, Ross, takes grids out of the conference room and makes them valuable, actionable, and meaningful to everyday life. For instance, I found his breakdown on Headphone Habits elucidating and enjoyable. Uplevel your thinking by subscribing to his newsletter, Gridology, today.

Born in the heart of February, I am a winter baby through and through.

To me, there is nothing more blissful, more invigorating than a clean sheet of ice or a rambunctious NHL game.

My passion for the sport of hockey is absolute. It’s rabid, it’s visceral, and it’s enthralling.

From playing…

to cheering…

Hockey has always played an outsized role in my life. A perfect day for me begins with an early morning skate (preferably on an idyllic frozen pond) and ends with me cheering on my beloved New York Islanders.

You see, I am a lifelong Islanders fanatic. It’s incredible what a close loss or convincing victory can do for my emotional disposition.

After a storied championship run from 1980-1984 (during which the Islanders won four consecutive Stanley Cups), there have been very many years of pain and suffering, of wailing and gnashing of teeth. The below are but some of the horrors the fan base has had to endure:

Things are looking up this year!

In honor of hockey's return and my beloved NY Islanders, I wrote a short piece about what the sport means to me.

Ode to Hockey

[Hockey is] a fast, body-contact game played by men with clubs in their hands and knives laced to their feet. — Paul Gallico

I don't think it's the post-game celebration or speech. 

Or the calming sensation that slinks into the rink when the Zamboni begins its sluggish glide around the arena. 

Or even the playful banter and chirps of teammates. 

It's definitely not the hurried awakenings and the frigid, morning rides to the rink.

Or the barked orders from the coaches. 

No, it’s none of these things.

For me, when I contemplate the rush, the surge, the pure euphoria that I derive from my time on the ice, I believe it's the collective struggle that frees me. 

As I don my equipment, readying for the imminent battle that is the game, nervousness leads to nausea.

I begin my transformation.

Slipping on my navy blue elbow guards, lacing up my grayish skates, and pulling on my jet-black gloves, I complete my metamorphosis. 

Unrecognizable, I arise from the hard, plastic bench, escape the foul, pungent stench of the rancid locker-room, and walk with my team to the frozen tundra.

The sport provides me with an opportunity to escape from the cerebral and to embrace the primal. Darting on a bedrock of hard ice, with two 0.110 inch-thick blades on my feet, I immerse myself in the danger of the competition.

Whether it be the gentle clap of a well-handled pass or the muted crunch of skates cutting into fresh ice, the soundtrack of the beautiful game speaks to me. 

I thrive.

Out here, the jargon is monosyllabic and often explicit. 

Out here, I don't have to be the writer, the son, the employee, the mentor.


Out here, staring through the chipped checkerboard metal of my helmet cage, my other identity emerges.

Out here, there exists another standard.

Out here, I need not show restraint. 

Out here, in my very own wild west, I revel in the chaos, the pandemonium of the jarring hits and the crisp passes. 

Out here, I let loose. I play the part of the phoenix, reborn in the blood of the struggle, the sweat of the exertion, and the tears of the opponent. 

Out here, I am centered precisely because of my self-departure, leveled because of the imbalance of the campaign. 

Out here, bedlam bears internal order; toil, mental tranquility. 

Out here, I become alive in a wholly different way.

Some questions to ponder:

  • What is your hockey?

  • What nourishes your soul, imbues you with vitality?

  • What allows you to shed personas donned because of social norms and societal mores? 

  • What are these personas?

  • Would you be better showing your true colors, removing these masks permanently and embracing that which frees you?

    • If yes, what’s stopping you?

    • If no, why not? What are you afraid of?

  • How can you embrace more of this in your life?

The Best of the Rest

A few majestic plays from the coolest game on earth.

🌪️ The whirling dervish that is Brayden Point:

Soccer? 🏒Hockey? Both for Anthony Beauvillier:

Speed? ✔️Coordination? ✔️Execution? ✔️| Connor McDavid has it all:

Per my about pageWhite Noise is a work of experimentation. I view it as a sort of thinking aloud, a stress testing of my nascent ideas. Through it, I hope to sharpen my opinions against the whetstone of other people’s feedback, commentary, and input.

If you want to discuss any of the ideas or musings mentioned above or have any books, papers, or links that you think would be interesting to share on a future edition of White Noise, please reach out to me by replying to this email.

With sincere gratitude,