Somewhere in North America there was a hockey game last night. Anthems were sung relatively in tune. The whistle blew. The puck was dropped. The players raced down the ice from end to end. The game was tied and overtime was forced. The clock was winding down and with one last rush down the ice the home team scored a goal to end the game. The crowd went wild.
Hockey is more than just a game, it is a way of life to those who play the game. Hockey is an unbreakable bond between players, their parents, coaches and the ice rink which is a second home. The players on one team form a bond that will never be broken save for when they play on opposite sides of the ice. Some play at the professional level and others play just for fun.
To be successful in this sport EVERY player on the roster needs to put their best game on the ice every game. “Hockey is a unique sport in the sense that you need each and every guy helping each other and pulling in the same direction to be successful.” -Wayne Gretzky
Hockey brings fans from all over the world together. We may not always cheer for the same team and be from different cities BUT we are all enraptured by the game that is hockey. Sometimes there are incidents that will cause fans and media alike to be divided once more. Some nights the game will appear more like fight night or so it seemed when my Vancouver Canucks faced off against the Calgary Flames on January 18th.
The Flames head coach started his 4th line heavy weights and Torts countered with his 4th line. TWO seconds into the game [yes, you read that correct, TWO seconds] 5 fights broke out at centre ice as the teams had amassed 142 minutes and 8 players ejected from the game. Was it a premeditated incident or a spontaneous reaction just after puck drop? There was the animated less than thrilled reaction from Torts on the bench as all the majors were announced, Burrows got hit from behind by the Flames captain Giordano, at one point it looked like there would be no players left on either bench and then there was the first intermission when Torts attempted to enter the Flames locker room to confront the Flames coach Hartley. Torts is NOT the only one with blame in this game, as Hartley knew what he was doing in putting enforcer Kevin Westgarth as his opening center. Was it the best idea to storm to the opponent’s dressing room? Definitely not BUT Torts wanting to stand up for his players is something that the team will hold on to LONG after this game.
As result of said events Torts had a hearing in New York. Hartley did not have a hearing BUT was fined $25,000 for his actions. A 15 day, 6-game suspension with NO team contact was assessed to Torts. Long story short, in the next 6 games the team will have to play their best for their coach who stood up for them as he is forced to watch from the sidelines away from the team. One thing is absolutely certain, press conferences will NOT be the same while Torts is suspended. Torts will be eligible to return to his spot behind the bench February 3rd when his team is in Detroit.
Somewhere where in North America a hockey game was played. One team won and one team lost. One game over and another is on the horizon as the journey is not yet over as more games remain. Some players will reach new heights, some will disappoint, some will take us all by surprise and SOME are still dreaming of what playing the NHL will look like:
For some the dream will come true and this crazy thing called hockey will become so much more than a game. No one game is ever exactly the same and within one game the momentum can swing ever so swiftly. Opinions will vary for fans of every team in regards to every game that is played but on ONE thing do we all agree: we love the game that is HOCKEY and all that comes with it.
As always, until next time, nuck said.