Ice Hockey was one from a group of games I got on Christmas of '89. I was already familiar with it, since I'd played it at both friends' and cousins' houses, but I was kind of "eh" on its unexpected appearance, since it was one of those older NES games that never registered too strongly. For a while, I had a habit of deciding in advance how much of my time something would be worth, and Ice Hockey was filed away as one that wouldn't see too much action. Contrary to my initial slotting of it, though, Ice Hockey became quite a favorite to all accounted parties, including my brother and his friends. I can't say that it was one of our most-played games, but it found its way into many of those day-long sessions otherwise occupied by the usual suspects (Trojan, Double Dragon, etc.), our chaotic contests always among the highlights of the day.
I assumed that its characters were Mario and gang in hockey gear, with Mario as the fat player, Toad as the middle-sized player, and Luigi and Princess Toadstool as the skinny players. I always assembled the same cast: Two fat guys and two skinny guys, which I had termed the ideal hockey team--two fatties to clog up the field and power in goals, and two skinnies to speedily advance the puck and confuse the defense. Those medium-sized players just seemed useless.
Ice Hockey, ultimately, was instead one of those games that taught me that you didn't have to be a fan of the sport to enjoy a video-game interpretation of it, whether it was Hockey, Tennis, Volleyball or whatever else (not including Golf, one of Nintendo's early sports titles that wasn't quite as convincing).
They don't make them like this anymore, and that's a damn shame.