No place in our game for what happened tonight
Allow me to apologize in advance, as this article will not be in the normal tone of our generally jovial and snarky blog.
I’m pissed. I’m sad. I’m sick to my stomach. As a fan of the great game of hockey, what transpired on the ice tonight in Boston is shameful and something that no hockey fan, regardless of allegiances or biases should support. Making excuses, thinly spreading blame, and generally expressing anything other than shame and remorse is equally reprehensible.
We’re not gonna link to the mugging, the knee, or any of the other ancillary stuff. It’s out there, and I’m sure you have either seen it or can find it. I don’t want to spread that karma on my blog.
What really gets me is the abject disrespect for another human being that happened in that match tonight. I played football, and even played “dirty” at times. That said, regardless of how much testosterone I had pumping, or where we were in the game, it never once crossed my mind to try and break another human in an effort to win a sport. Did I want to inflict pain and break the others will, absolutely. But intent to injure is something that is beyond my psyche.
We, as hockey fans, attend games and support our favorite teams for the love of not only sport, but to see a modern day heroes vs. villains morality play take place. We root for the good guys, and cheer against the opposition. We chant the names of our favorites, we mock and ridicule the opponent. In the end, we want to feel the exhilaration that comes along with a win for the team we support with our mind, body, soul, and money.
So, I ask you this? When you look at the picture below, what do you see? I see a young man excited that he is celebrating the culmination of a lifetime of hard work with the one that he loves. Take a minute and think about what it took for this person to achieve something that they have dreamed of since they were a child.
Earlier tonight, you saw this very man carted off the ice on a stretcher, knocked out by a series of sucker punches and gutless actions. Now is time for honesty, and not time to be a keyboard hypocrite. Have I voraciously boo’ed this man over the past 6 hockey seasons for actions that he took against a former member of my favorite team? Absofreakinglutely. But tonight, my heart and head hurt for him and his family witnessing what was just an act of unnecessary violence.
We love hockey because of the players. The personalities that are so crucial to the sport we hold so dear are THE special connection many of us have to the game. Oftentimes, these personalities grow out of a loving family that sacrifices time to get to the rink for practice at 5AM and spends hour upon hour with the young man talking about the game and life. These are the same families that watch in fear when events like tonight transpire. I don’t care how much you love your team… you don’t love them the same way a mother loves her hockey playing son.
I hope, for the future of this game, the NHL comes down hard on both Shawn Thornton and James Neal. I further hope that either NESN or public opinion comes down equally hard on Jack Edwards for making such asinine comments like “The incident could have been avoided if Orpik toughened up and fought him earlier”. Hockey is a game of passion, and nights like tonight steal a piece of that passion that I fear I may never get back.