Warm Ups

If I spent the first 3-4 paragraphs talking about myself, you wouldn’t read them. It’s ok, you can be honest. You would skim them, maybe look for something that is relevant or that you have a personal connection to, but outside of that you wouldn’t connect and you wouldn’t retain what you just wasted 3 minutes reading. You’re here for the content, and that content better be good. That’s what I’m here for. I only have one chance to not make a bad first impression (or something like that) so I’m trying not to screw this up.

I will say that like most of you I am a hockey fan, a hockey player, and a hockey guy (editor’s note; you may be a hockey girl. We make no gender assumptions in this blog). I grew up playing on ponds and skating 5am practices. I played through high school and college, and now I’m older and play with other older guys and have more fun now than I did when I was supposed to be having fun but my high school coach was an absolute DICK – so fuck you, Dave.

Truth be told I was always a bit of a goon growing up. That may explain why coaches either loved me or hated me, depending on their opinion of spending half the game killing penalties. I liked throwing bows and chuckin knucks. I never had the softest handles so I made my living being greasy (have I hit all the buzz words to prove I’m not some bender?). Being older I’ve calmed down some but goddamn do I still love some solid man on man contact.

That sounded weird.

Just go with it. It’s cool.

Anyways.

Game Time

If you haven’t seen this video yet, please go watch it.

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Layne is a member of the Humboldt Broncos team that tragedy struck a year or so back. Here’s a kid who lost friends, family, and much of his physical abilities – all in the service of hockey. No one would have blamed him if he never wanted to throw on the skates again. PTSD often makes you want to avoid things that will remind of you traumatic events. It’s a defense mechanism. But this kid has such love for the sport that he’s already back out there doing bag drills and firing off clappers. That shit right there is what makes hockey players and the hockey community at large so special. We love this shit. Hockey has a place in our soul that is rooted in the ODR rinks, the long cold drives to early games, the shit talking in the locker rooms and the camaraderie on the ice that can’t be destroyed no matter the adversity we face.

Layne Matechuk is all of us. Keep grinding kid, we’re with you.

Post-Game Beers

Don Cherry has a favorite story he likes to tell. He says that when he was a kid he prayed for God to make him a hockey player, but that he never specifically mentioned the NHL so he spent 16 years in the minors.

I never played above club level in college. I once ref’d a Bruins alumni game and that was no doubt the closest I ever got to the pros (side bar. Johnny “Pie” McKenzie skated that day. He was like 80 years old, one of the strongest skaters on the ice, and still chirped me when I blew an offsides call that he disagreed with. What a legend). I always wished for more out of my hockey career, but dems dabreaks.

Last month I took a vacation with the family to Iceland. The trio home involved some layovers, multiple flight legs, time zone changes, and all the typical international travel bullshit one has to deal with. Exacerbating all this was the knowledge that my team had a playoff game the day we were set to arrive home. The timeline was tight but with a few breaks I should have been able to make the game no problem. Long story short, our flight was delayed and we didn’t pull into our driveway until 15 minutes before puck drop.

Never the less, I persisted.

Despite the angry protestations of the wife and bewildered looks from my tired and cranky daughter I threw my family and luggage into the house, grabbed my gear, and was on the ice for the second shift of the game. My team was short to begin with, and I wasn’t going to let a little jet lag and marital discord get in the way of competing with the boys. We had a game to win (we lost 2-1 in overtime).

Don Cherry – 0 NHL games. Hockey player.

Internet Blogger Justin – 0 NHL games. Hockey player.

Both blessed by the same curse. Loving this sport.

 

The Drive Home:

Overheard Chirp of the Week.

Player A: “16 you fucking suck!”

Player B: “Did saying that make you feel better?”

 

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