As with all sports on ice or snow, Ice Hockey is also one of the widely unknown and unsupported sports in Turkey. (No wonder that we have more available skiing resorts than Switzerland and Austria combined, but the majority of the Turks who can afford a wallet-emptying holiday up on those mountains rather prefer to eat sausage sandwiches and wait until their beloved hi-society photographers take shots for the next issue of a glossy magazine.)
In spite of my former near-obesity in primary school, I was an avid sports fan and participated in nearly all the sports facilities that my school offered (and my parents paid in overhead). One of them , Ice Hockey , was a particularly unknown sport to most of us, the young hamburger- fed 80's generation of Turkey, born into the sub-culture of football where all other sports were considered as too foreign, gay or girly. All boys should play football and the underachievers were widely jeered at.
The first day of the ice hockey boot camp was an introduction to the ice rink and ,actually, how to skate. Although I rather performed well by not falling (better to say, clinging to the sidelines all the time) the coach advised me to choose a sport "not on ice". Since I was also "kindly" ousted from the sports "played with ball", I had to wait for another 5-6 years to be accepted in the volleyball team and then the rowing.
Those memories came alive as I entered the Ice Palace of CSKA last friday with friends from work. The idea about the Ice Hockey game came up instantaneously that day and we, although with diminishing hopes for finding a ticket, exchanged ideas about the game, rules and the teams. Not a newbie like me, they were comparing the teams from Kazan and Moscow while I watched the souvenirs shop with awe (I bought a puck with CSKA star on it)
It is strange that I have become a CSKA fan for almost 2 years now. Not that I adore the red star memorabilia design or the beautiful colors, but it offers (as all big clubs in Europe) all tastes of sports under its brand. Last month i was watching the football team roll against Fenerbahce and now they were in their odd ice hockey suits against a fellow Moscow team, MVD.
I must admit that even an unimportant match like this filled nearly %70 percent of the Ice Palace. Boys with their girlfriends, who watched rather more enthusiastically than the boys, enjoyed the game. There wasn't any hooliganism and people from opposing sides watched and cheered side by side (a sight that we can see in Turkey when the Europeans would launch to Mars).
For unaccustomed audience, like me, Ice Hockey is rather hard to watch because the game has a frantic speed and it halts during a climactic attack or a brawl near the goal. I need some time to get used to this sport. At the end, CSKA won by 3:1 and everyone peacefully went home...