John Buccigross, ESPN talking head and hockey fan, writes beautifully and often about the importance of youth hockey in America. Buccigross stresses that youth hockey is important not because it will help grow the sport in the United States, but because of the life lessons the game imparts to players. All sports foster self-confidence and teamwork, but a great deal of learning to play hockey is learning to sacrifice. It's an expensive sport to play at any level, and league play often requires long hours of travel. Hockey parents give up quite a bit just to give their kid a chance to play. But the kids also have to sacrifice, and not just through the loss of free time or extra birthday presents: Playing the game properly demands that you take hits and block shots in order for good things to happen. You take lumps to gain goals. It sounds draining, but hockey parents and kids take great pride in what they accomplish on and off the ice. In the Crease, a documentary film following the fortunes of the California Wave fourteen-and-under hockey team, chronicles the day-to-day life of hockey families at ice level. Interspersed with the early-morning skates and family drama are interviews with current and former NHLers, who share their happy memories of two-hour drives to play five minutes. In the Crease screens at 11 a.m. today at the Tivoli Theatre (6350 Delmar Boulevard, University City; 314-289-4153 or www.cinemastlouis.org). Tickets are $5, and proceeds benefit Cinema St. Louis and the St. Louis Blues Fourteen Fund.
Sat., Feb. 17