The Big Change
When you work in this business and have four kids, boys and girls, you end up seeing hockey played at many different levels.
Nobody hooks anybody anymore. Few players even try.
To anyone who watched the sport prior to 2004, this has been one of the most extraordinary developments in the fastest game on ice.
Back then, and really from about the early 1980s to the early part of this century, using the stick to restrain and interfere with an opponent, whether he or she actually had the puck or not, was as common as shooting and passing.
It was just how the game was played. The final game of the 1987 Canada Cup between Canada and the Soviet Union was one of the greatest ever played, but watching it recently revealed a style of hockey that just doesn't exist any more, which was to constantly jab, hook and hack at the opponents hands and arms to dislodge the puck and defend against the attack.
It was a style that tricked down to every level of hockey, as most things done by the best in the world do.
And it's gone. Or at least, on the rare occasion it occurs now, it's generally penalized. Even putting your stick parallel to an opponent can mean a penalty.
Go out and watch kids play. While there are other things to be concerned about - certainly hitting from behind remains a major issue - the absence of hooking and, to a large degree, interference, has opened the game up at every level.
In the NHL, it has resulted in a level of speed evident in most games that it's breathtaking.
So who gets credit for this? Well, I'm not sure whose idea it was, but you have to give the lion's share of the credit to Gary Bettman's administration. Colin Campbell and Mike Murphy were the ones who administered the policy, but the commissioner had to go along with it, and to a large degree, so did the players through the competition committee.
Once they took it out of the NHL, every other level followed, just as would be the case if they ever decided to enforce tougher rules on head shots, hitting from behind, stick infractions and fighting.
But getting the hooking out has changed the game, and made it much, much better at every level. You may not like the penalties, but you have a game that is more reflective of the actual skill level of the players rather than the way in which they can bend the law.
Bettman doesn't get credit for much outside of the business of the game.
But he was the leader of the NHL, and this all happened under his watch.