I owe everything I am to the female hockey journalists who wrote the 1993 'Hockey Digest' list of the most attractive NHL players
Or maybe it was 1992. It was definitely either 1992 or 1993.
I swear if I had access to a time machine the first thing I would do is go back to my childhood bedroom (when my twelve-year-old self is not there, obviously. I'm not stupid) and I would locate the dogeared copy of The Hockey Digest that set me on a path.
This publication had the GUTS to ask two or three female hockey journalists to compile a list of the best looking NHL players. This was before the internet. Before Buzzfeed. Before it was okay for women to just be openly thirsty as hell.
I had been obsessed with hockey for years at the time. Because this was "unusual" for a young girl, I was always careful to keep my feelings about the sport "professional" and "manly". I admired players purely for their skill, their stats, their honour, and, when I was feeling daring, their personalities. But to comment on something as superficial as a player's looks was just...not being a proper hockey fan. What on earth did it matter if a defenseman had a chiseled jaw, or a rugged cleft chin, or piercing sapphire eyes? Obviously the only thing that mattered was that he was throwing up a decent plus-minus average.
But then there was this list.
A list written by actual hockey reporters. Female hockey reporters. Women who knew these players professionally. Women who were probably just barely taken seriously by fans, players and the media alike. And here they were counting down the best players in the league based purely on how attractive they were. What balls these ladies had!
Do you know what that list said to me? It said, "Hey. It's okay. There are some hot men in the NHL and it's okay to admit that. To celebrate it, even! Lusting after these men does not make you a less knowledgeable fan. It does not make you respect them less as players."
I read that list so many times. I held onto the issue for years, but it's sadly lost now. And as comprehensive as the internet is, I have never been able to find the slightest evidence that the list had ever existed. So I have no idea who the women were who wrote it. I can still remember probably half of the players who had made the list.
I wish I could thank these women. I am sure they wrote it as a fun puff piece, but to me it was earth shattering. If anyone can find me a copy of this list, or the names of the women who wrote it, I would be so goddamned happy. This is my white whale.