It’s a riot…

It all starts with tryouts and leads to rioting in the streets.  Hockey fans are nuts.

My boy plays.  I admit that I love to watch and I’m thrilled when he plays well.  I get a kick out of all of the kids and their excitement… the antics when they get a goal or make a mistake… the slapping of the stick on the ice when they want the puck and think they have a shot.  At times… it’s downright exciting and I’m near jumping out of my skin… and yes… I’ve been known to yell out once or twice during a game.

Tryouts are ridiculous.  Painful.  Agonizing.  They work on processes to try to be fair… but sometimes they miss the boat… mistakes get made.  It’s politics.  It’s disgusting.  And while you try to stay out of it… let it all play out the way it should… it’s so hard not to when you see blatant disrespect and disappointed kids.

My son doesn’t have any misconceptions of being in the NHL… he wants to play “gentlemen’s hockey” when he grows up… get a bit of exercise and have a few beer with the boys in the dressing room when all is said and done. He thinks it would be cool to play on the high school team someday… “get the girls”.  (I told him he should learn to play guitar!)  He plays street hockey with his friends and is thrilled with each and every goal he gets.  Nothing tickles me more than when he gets in the car… I give him “the look” and he responds with “I was just protecting the goalie Mom!” or “they got me on an accidental tripping again”.  He replays the game the entire way home… his excitement is contagious.

There have been wonderful coaches through the years.  Volunteering their time and boosting the team’s confidence.  Encouraging the kids to go further… work harder… be proud… no matter what team they land on when tryouts are said and done.  I owe a lot to those guys.

Everyone’s got a team.  Well… every Canadian does anyway!  I never got the Montreal Canadians vs. Toronto Maple Leafs rivalry… but it’s one or the other.  I quite enjoy watching “Sid the Kid” play with Pittsburgh… our hometown hero who has done so much for hockey in Nova Scotia and for the kids who love the game.  I have a lot of respect for that young man.  I LOVE how excited my kid gets watching a Toronto game.  The day he was born his grandfather placed a Toronto flag over the darling boy as he lay in his bassinet in the hospital.

Hockey is part of being Canadian and if I had to pick one team over the other it would be Montreal… possibly because my parents followed Montreal when I was young… but really… I just like watching a good game of hockey.  I enjoy watching during the Olympics when we’re all in it together.  Mostly I enjoy watching when my son is playing.

Tonight’s game was amazing.  Game seven to see who goes on to the next round… Stanley Cup on the line.  Montreal outmaneuvered our young Sidney Crosby who proudly brought “The Cup” home last year to the delight of so many kids… including mine.  This year it’s someone else’s turn.  Halak was PHENOMENAL.  That’s good hockey… a great game from beginning to end.  The stuff that parents are proud of… that coaches are proud of… that players will talk about for the entire ride home…

The crazy fans… the riots… that’s just bullshit.  That’s not hockey.  Flipping cars, smashing windows, lighting fires… that’s just stupid.  (Save it for tryouts!)

Sit back. Enjoy the game. Feel the excitement. Be proud. Relax… it’s only a game.

The Halifax Hawks Minor Hockey league lost a phenomenal coach last week.  Donnie MacInnes coached my son in baseball and also coached one of the hockey teams my son played against this year.  He always took a minute after every game to tell my boy how great he was.  He joked that he’d pay him ten bucks in the semi finals to skate slow and keep the puck out of their net!  My son thought he was great…  he worked hard for Donnie and was looking forward to being on his baseball team again this year.  My heart goes out to his wife Donna, his two children, his family… and all the kids he’s coached through the years.  Coach MacInnes… you will be missed.

It’s only a game.