The NHL Winter Classic is forcing the New England Patriots to head south to Florida two days early, but Bill Belichick seemed pretty jazzed about hockey, despite the inconvenience.
The Patriots coach showed up to his news conference Thursday morning sporting a Boston Bruins Winter Classic hat, skated on the Gillette Stadium ice with Claude Julien and cracked one of his patented social media quips when a reporter took a photo.
“I’m ready for that Winter Classic, yes sir,” Belichick said. “What’s that, going on ‘Snapface’? Get that on there — good. I’m pretty excited.”
Belichick closed his news conference talking about the hockey league he played in during his time with the New York Giants after being asked if he ever skated.
“Oh, yeah. I mean we didn’t have a lot of ice in Maryland, but skated at Andover, skated (at) Wesleyan,” Belichick said. “I played in the old huff-and-puff league when I was in New Jersey with the Giants. … Oh, you know, it’s like 30-, 40-year-old guys playing at midnight — it’s the only time you could get ice time — drive 45 minutes to go out there and fall around and slash each other.
“I wish I could have played hockey. That’s a great sport. It’s fast, lot of action, contact, skill, speed.”
Belichick instead played football and lacrosse in high school and college. He went on to compare the three sports Thursday.
“I mean football, lacrosse, hockey, they all kind of have those elements of contact, speed, skill in variant forms, but I think they’re all exciting,” Belichick said. “There is a lot of correlation between hockey and lacrosse, too — kind of defending that same space where you can go behind the goal, you can go in front of the goal, and you’re centered around a point. Like you are in basketball, you’re defending a point, whereas in football, you’re defending 53-and-a-third yards. It’s a lot different when you’ve got to defend a line, as opposed to a basket or a goal or just a small space. It changes the defensive and offensive (strategy) because everything is funneled to that one (area).
“And of course you’ve got the goalie that is so critical to those sports. That adds another dynamic. We’ve had a lot of conversations about that. That’s really the big difference in terms of football and defense and defense in basketball or lacrosse or hockey or those goal-oriented sports where you’re defending a point, as opposed to defending a lot of width.”
Thumbnail photo via Troy Taormina/USA TODAY Sports Images