Today is Feb. 29, a day that comes around only once every four years.
With one extra day in the calendar year it probably means there’s one
extra day on your hockey mom schedule.
One of my kids asked me, “Why is there a leap year every four years?”, and I probably knew the answer to that question at one point in my life but haven’t had to think about it until some relentlessly inquisitive child asks it. (If you’re about to Google it, don’t bother, I already have.)
Leap years are needed to keep our Gregorian calendar in sync with the Earth's revolutions around the sun. This kind of begs the question why the Gregorian wizards didn’t give February 30 days and didn’t take a day off January and March but that’s a question for Pope Gregory XIII … who died in 1585.
So as we enjoy an extra day of everything this year, I
got to thinking about the number “4” and how significant it is
specifically in hockey. What is “four”?
Four is –
- That tender age most kids start playing initiation hockey (or Timbit hockey as it is more affectionately known in many locales);
- The number worn famously by Jean Beliveau, Bobby Orr, Scott Stevens, Chris Phillips (and about 333 other NHL players);
- How many years we have to wait to watch Olympic hockey;
- The number of players on a spring 4-on-4 hockey league line;
- Typically the number of lines an NHL team will carry;
- Happens to be the number of glasses of wine in a bottle of pinot grigio, not that I’ve counted (totally unrelated to hockey but not entirely unrelated to hockey moms!);
- A part of the nickname given to the semifinals and finals of the NCAA men’s hockey championships - “The Frozen Four” - and my beloved Cornell Big Red hockey team shall rise again!
- How many players are on the ice for each team during overtime of an NHL game (okay, well it used to be anyway!);
- How long a hockey player will sit in the penalty box serving a double-minor penalty;
- The number of hockey players on a golf foursome after they’ve been eliminated from the playoffs and betting on their yardage on the – you guessed it – Par 4;
- I’m pretty sure - how many balled up pieces of hockey tape are floating around the bottom of a hockey bag – and possibly my purse;
- The number of Sutter brothers who actually played in a game of hockey together setting a record for the most number of siblings in a hockey game, and is the number of Stahl brothers currently with NHL contracts;
- The number of hockey Mom Mondays posts you can typically read per month on Hockey Now!
What can I say? The number “4” features prominently in hockey and in this post and certainly these occurrences take place more than once every 4 years. So happy birthday to all those February 29th babies out there. If you’re Henri Richard, you just turned 20 and if you’re Cam Ward, you just turned 8.
Three cheers for the leap year – and for all the legendary “4’s” in hockey!
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