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Photo from the Ohio State University Women’s Ice Hockey Facebook Page

The post-lockout but prior-to-games promotional efforts by the NHL and its partners are a bit scattershot right now. On the one hand, the league has produced a really outstanding commercial spot/video that does well to appeal to hockey fans. Check it out here if you haven’t seen it yet. Meanwhile, NBC recently botched their effort at promoting the season. They’ve released a laughably inaccurate ad describing the Penguins as winners of their wild playoff series versus the Flyers last year. It’s beyond crazy.

But at the core of both efforts and at the center of the NHL’s social media marketing is the phrase “Hockey is Back.” There has been a fair amount of backlash from fans and media, but the hashtag #hockeyisback has continued. So let’s jump on board the bandwagon and take this moment to remind you that there is uninterrupted, mid-season hockey still going on, probably in a town near you. Remember that it is the NHL returning, not the sport of hockey.

If you’d like to go see some live hockey on Friday (because you don’t want to wait for the NHL to finally get moving) this link might be helpful for finding a college game to watch. Clarkson and St. Lawrence have another go at their best-in-all-sports rivalry on Saturday. I’d tell you to go see it, but it’s probably sold out. Maybe you’d like to keep watching AHL play? We’ve got you covered there too. They’ve even got an All Star Game coming up soon. Wild how those events don’t get cancelled when there’s hockey being played without pointless delays.

For you Columbus readers, you never had to wait until January 21 to see live hockey in town, and you still don’t. Friday and Saturday, the Ohio State Women take on St. Cloud State at the OSU Ice Rink. Admission is free, and the Lady Buckeyes are top 10 in the country right now. I’ll certainly be there Friday (and you should absolutely check it out when the juggernaut unbeaten Minnesota comes to town in early February).

Sure, the other stuff isn’t the same as the NHL, and I’ll absolutely be watching the Penguins-Flyers game Saturday afternoon. And yeah, I’m pretty excited about seeing the Blue Jackets on Monday. But you know what? That’s not the only hockey show around, and the other hockey is pretty damn fun too. Don’t believe it when you hear “hockey is back.” Hockey was back in September and never actually left us.

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