But it doesn't occupy my mind like football and baseball - and even college basketball - do.
Which is why it was so unusual that on Tuesday night, with the one-game wild card playoff baseball game on TV (between the Pirates and the Reds, so I had a rooting interest in Pittsburgh), when I switched over to see which hockey game was on, that I stayed there for a solid ten minutes.
The Blackhawks, you see, were raising their championship banner.
And I just couldn't take my eyes off of it.
First of all, I know how horrible my TV is. Sometimes the picture gets staticky, and you can see that in the many pictures I've taken this year of my TV screen, including the one above. Sometimes it's clear as day, but that doesn't happen all that often. Never is it in high definition, because it's not a high definition TV. (We were thinking of getting a high definition TV back in 2008, and then we instead decided to have a second child.) What it is is a ten-year-old TV with a picture - and it's good enough for me. So now I'm going to stop defending my TV against your non-existent barbs.
Secondly, I think you need to understand that I love championships. I love the matchups in the championships (especially new match ups!, which I think you know), and I love the spoils of a championship.
I love trophy presentations - especially the Stanley Cup. I like hearing about off-season ring ceremonies or seeing the presentations on the field. And I love the raising of the banner.
Rarely, though, do I watch the raising of the banner. Especially in hockey, because I just rarely watch early-season hockey. But as I said, I stumbled across the one in Chicago.
The players were introduced, there was dramatic music playing, and some little kids skated out with the banner. Then it was hooked up to the ropes, and raised to the rafters. It took a while, but it was gripping TV.
It was exactly the way I would do it. I love the idea of raising banners. I'll watch a game if they're retiring someone's number just to watch that number go into the sky. Maybe it's because of how big those banners are when they're on the ground next to people as opposed to high up in the arena out of context. Maybe I just like the pomp and circumstance surrounding it. I just love it - I like collecting miniature replicas of banners. I would raise a banner if I ever had occasion to.
So that's why I watched the Blackhawks raise their Stanley Cup championship banner to open the 2013-2014 hockey season. I probably won't tune in to the beginning of another Blackhawks game all season - unless I happen to catch them playing a game against the Rangers.
And maybe next year I'll watch the banner-raising in full...because hopefully it will be happening at Madison Square Garden.