When my mom passed away in 2009, I became even more obsessed with hockey than I normally would be. I read the official rules books of the ECHL, AHL, and NHL when I couldn’t sleep at night and when my thoughts turned dark, I would read statistics on my favorite teams, my favorite players, of any team and any player that took my mind off of mom. To say that hockey help heal me is an understatement.
When I read this quote sometime ago, I thought to myself, “Yes, this is exactly how I feel.”
“We know that hockey is where we live, where we can best meet and overcome pain and wrong and death. Life is just a place where we spend time between games.” —Fred “The Fog” Shero
I don’t play hockey. I can’t even claim to know all there is to know about it. I can’t even name every team and it’s farm team, but I do know that sometimes my life is exactly a place where I spend time between games.
As I sat in the same seat I have for the last 3 years at the Charlotte Checkers game on Sunday, I sat and looked at all the fans. The Carolina Hurricane fans there to support the Charlotte Checkers while the NHL is a lockout. The Charlotte Checker fans who are at every game. I see them in the same seats, always cheering, always there through good and bad. The opposing team fans supporting their team just as passionately and loudly as the home team fans. I was reminded that hockey fans have this crazy unbreakable bond no matter what. I may not be a New Jersey Devil fan, but I sure as hell will not scoff at them when they’re out supporting my favorite AHL team. I don’t even scoff if they’re there to support the opposing team. We are at the same game, loving every moment good or bad. If I wear Detroit Red Wings jersey, I’m going to have haters because they’ve won 12 championships and the fan of the team that hasn’t won yet will admit jealousy but respect. I am not a fan of Sidney “Sid the Kid” Crosby, but I cannot deny the skills he has on the ice. Hockey fans respect the players and the games. I don’t see that with other sports. Hockey fans are unique. They believe when it seems all hope is lost. I know I am that way right now as the NHL cancels yet another month of the season, but somewhere in my hockey loving heart, I feel that I might get a little NHL season, but if not, I can see the bright stars of NHL’s future on the ice against the Charlotte Checkers.
As I sat in the same seat realizing all of the above, I once again found myself depending on the game I love so much to get me through a stumble in life. Instead of reading the rule books and statistics, this time, I just let the clock count down each period and each intermission. I didn’t think about anything outside of the arena. I didn’t think about what next or what decision will lead to what path.
For sixty minutes, I was taken away from all the worries of the world and transported to a place where all that mattered was who got the puck in the net the most. I was overcoming the pain and the wrong, and I was happy.