"Let your mind rest easy,
Sleep well my friend.
It's only our bodies that betray us in the end..."
Bruce Springsteen/We Are Alive
It is both a great time of year in hockey as well as kind of a sad time. It recently hit me that I am turning forty again. Another season is coming to an end and a lot of teams are involved in playoffs or play downs depending on where you are from. Soon we will look to next season which will be my fortieth involved in hockey in some capacity. Hard for me to believe. So in light of this 'milestone' I am allowing myself to ramble and muse a bit about the game. Thoughts from an old defenceman. I hope I don't offend anyone. Remember, this game is about fun right?
I am lucky that my job has me watching a lot of hockey. Sometimes during the year it feels like too much hockey but then I realize it is never too much.....
The game is so different and yet in some ways still the same after all these seasons.....It is predictable and unpredictable all at once.
The Detroit Red Wings are still good and the Leafs will probably miss playoffs again....
The Florida Panthers will get in and The Washington Capitals may not.....yes all the experts picked that at the start of the season.
I hope my son has as much fun playing squirt hockey next season as he did playing these last two years of mite. I know it will be a challenge to equal the funny memories.....
The Toronto Marlboro Midget team is really good (again) .....and yet one of the best 97 birth year teams in North America is from Scranton, PA.....(with a bunch of Russian kids on it)?
Don Cherry is in a fight with Brian Burke. Not about European Hockey Players but about Ontario Hockey Players not playing for the Leafs....???
I watched my son break his wrist in a practice. Heal. Get over his fear of getting hurt again, and play again. My wife is not over her fear yet though.... That hasn't changed. Moms don't change.....:)
Hockey is everywhere. This year my company has taken on player profiles for kids from states including Florida, North Carolina, Georgia, Texas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia......
There are players from 40 different states on USA College Hockey rosters.....
All that and I had a parent tell me the other day they had spent $37,500.00 on hockey related expenses this year. Forty years ago my Dad spent under $200.00 for the entire season, equipment and all.....!
In 1986 I played Jr. Hockey and got a $17.00 a week meal allowance. This week I heard about an Eastern Jr. League coach making $200,000 per season........
When I was a young player there was a team from Kitchener, Ontario sponsored by Bauer Hockey, we thought it was pretty cool.....now five of the elite youth programs in the States are sponsored by a Cable Company (Comcast), a Tire Company (Belle Tire), a Pizza Comany (Little Caesars), a Chocolate Company (Russell Stover) and a Ham Company (Honeybaked Ham).........
The game is fast and entertaining but at what cost? A the halfway point of the NHL season there were 548 man games lost to concussions.......forty years ago you only got your bell rung.
I was looking at hockey equipment in a store at the rink the other day and I picked up a pair of hockey pants that were lighter than some of my jeans.....
Forty years ago you were taught to move out of the goalies way so he could see a clean view of the shot. Today young players are taught to jump in front of everything and block every shot.....Ouch!
Forty years ago Bruce Springsteen was about to release his first album "Greetings from Asbury Park". This week he released "Wrecking Ball" his 17th studio album. (had to get a Bruce reference in!)
The game was awesome forty years ago and is still awesome today......just a little different.
Simply put it was still just another fantastic year being around the game.
So forty years from now I don't know but Detroit will probably still be good, the Leafs will be battling for a playoff spot, Moms will still be worried, hopefully concussions will not exist and the game will still be great!!!
(That and Bruce will have just released his 34th album.....:)