How Charles Barkley got into hockey and is learning from NHL analysts

how charles barkley got into hockey and is learning from nhl analysts

Charles Barkley

Growing up, Charles Barkley didn’t know anything about hockey, but that all changed when he joined the NBA.

Barkley was drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers in 1984 and it was then that he got introduced to hockey. The Philadelphia Flyers shared the same arena as the 76ers and it was there that he met players on the team.

“I started going to hockey games and I have to say that while watching on TV is pretty good, but there’s nothing like a hockey game in person. It’s really awesome,” Barkley said on The Fan Morning Show on Sportsnet 590 the Fan. “Back in the day I was hanging out with all these guys going back to Pelle Lindbergh, who passed away, may he rest in peace, Ron Hextall, Rick Tocchet, who is is a great friend of mine and just won the coach of the year. Ron Hextall who was my favourite hockey player all time, was the only jersey I had until I was gifted the Leon Draisaitl jersey.”

The Oilers have gained a lot of support from the NBA on TNT crew, starting with a brewing friendship between winger Zach Hyman and Shaquille O’Neal. The NBA Hall of Famer was gifted a signed Hyman jersey and stick after the show aired a side-by-side compilation of the duo’s similar styles of play.

Barkley was looking for the same treatment from either Draisaitl or Connor McDavid and they delivered with “Chuck” receiving a gift: an Oilers No. 29 autographed jersey during the pre-game broadcast Sunday.

Barkley said that he’s been on the Oilers’ bandwagon since the start of the playoffs.

“Going into the playoffs we did a bracket and I picked the Oilers to win,” Barkley said. “What was really surprising was them going and winning that first game there (in Dallas) but obviously the next game is a must-win for the Oilers.”

What has helped Barkley really appreciate hockey more is the relationships he’s built with his TNT colleagues on the hockey side, like Paul Bissonnette, Wayne Gretzky and Anson Carter.

He also believes there are similarities in the style of analysis that the NBA and NHL crew employ to break down the action.

“No disrespect to the fans but they don’t know what they’re looking for, which is why I like talking to the hockey guys,” Barkley said. “That’s the good thing about when I’m with Wayne, Biz and those guys. They’re able to say why this team is going to win because of this or this. And that’s the way I feel like when I said the Mavericks were going to beat the Wolves and everyone looked at me as if I was crazy.”

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