RIP to the Fishbowl?

Everything Else Hockey

Thursday marks the first day of Minnesota High School Hockey in 2021. The North versus the South, Private schools matched up against Public schools, everyone rooting for whoever Edina is playing. After a delay to the start of the season, it’s set to hit the ground running in full force. However, one thing that’s in danger of being forgotten (at least for this year) is the Fishbowl.

Grand Rapids vs. Moorhead 2A Championship Game – March 11, 2017

After deliberating, school administrators landed on facemasks being required for all student-athletes in winter contact sports. I’m all for player/public safety and I understand the liability concerns from the schools. Having said that, can you IMAGINE playing hockey in a facemask? Maybe it’s because I’m a 30-year-old who eats gummy worms and beef jerky for diner, but I can’t walk up a flight of stairs in a mask before I regret skipping the elevator. No matter how you wear a mask, huffing and puffing with specs on is gonna be a bad time.

Player Impact

Imagine these teenagers on the ice trying to show off for their long-term girlfriend of 3 weeks. It’s the peak of their athletic life to this point, and for some, it will be the peak forever. Now that all players are required to wear a face-mask, they’re gonna have fogging problems if they’re rocking a fishbowl. In order to keep that girlfriend interested and make it to their “one month anniversary” (which doesn’t exist) they’re going to have to ditch the bowl and go back to a birdcage for this year. If they don’t, they’ll risk being an absolute liability on the ice and nobody wants to be with the bender.

Fishbowl kids after a 2 minute shift

If players aren’t rocking glass (plastic) on the ice, college scouts and fans are going to have to adjust too. How is anyone going to know who’ll be ripping clappers on a breakaway? There will be no way to tell who’s practiced their Tik-Tok celly more than their saucer passes. The only indication we’re going to get now is looking for players stretching at center ice and stealing pucks during warm-ups.

Saving the Fishbowl

Luckily for hockey fans everywhere, there have been equipment developments to help out. Hybrids of visor tops and cage bottoms are becoming more popular, and not just in beer-leagues. Splash guard inserts can now be added to the fishbowls and have been approved for use as well. With the anti-fogging sprays and specialized fits, we may very well just save the hockey douchebag brand.

Splash Guard Bubble Inserts

Looking ahead to the state tournament in the spring, everyone builds up the hairstyles that will be on display. There have been viral Youtube videos and ESPN pieces about the kids flow during team introductions seemingly every year. This year, however, I’m calling my shot and squatting on the take that we’re going to see statement facemask pieces by the kids. I can almost guarantee that stuck-up private schools like Saint Thomas Academy are going to have matching masks across the board. Yawn. Meanwhile, public school kids are going to have a mix of bedazzled shit made by their mom or girlfriend and stock black ones with a hockey logo. It’ll be easy to tell who the fan favorite is.

Masks Approved for Youth Hockey

Either way it comes out, I can’t wait to see it. I’m just thrilled that hockey is back in all forms!