Tuesday, January 6, 2009
Why Hockey Players are Special
Why hockey players are so special. . . . In the middle of a grueling
six game road trip where a very young hockey team is away from home,
the third game of the trip ends late on a cold Canadian Saturday night.
This is the only break on the trip and the three days between games
allow them the only break to get back home in their own beds for a
couple of days before going back on the road. A scheduled commercial
flight waits for them at Toronto's International Airport for the short
flight home; they could be home by midnight. This plane departs
on schedule, but without a single member of the hockey team. Back in
the locker room a vote is taken after the game was complete, and a
unanimous decision is made by this young team to skip this flight and
stay one more day.
They make arrangements to check back into the hotel and on a frozen
Sunday morning charter two buses that have no heat and begin a journey
two hours straight north into a sparsely inhabited Canada, but where
hockey is its passion.
They arrive at their destination to the surprise of the teams General
Manager who is there attending his father's wake.
After a few emotional hours, this team boards the buses and heads back
for a two-hour trip back to Toronto. On the way they ask the drivers
to stop in a tiny Canadian town because they are hungry. To the shock
of the patrons and workers at this small hockey town McDonald's, a
professional team walks out of two rickety buses and into the
restaurant, which just happens to have pictures of two members of this
team on its wall. The patrons know every single one of these players
by sight being fanatic fans of hockey in these parts. One can only
imagine the amazement of the locals seeing an entire professional
hockey team sit down and have a meal in their tiny little town in the
middle of a hockey season.
After a while they board the buses and catch their same flight 24
hours later, giving one day to their General Manager.
This true story of the Chicago Blackhawks last
Saturday night when they decided to attend Dale Tallon's father's
funeral. Its amazing that such a good story can be found nowhere on
the internet, and not even mentioned in the Chicago newspapers. Had one
of the Blackhawks got into a fight and punched some drunken loser in a
Toronto bar it would be plastered all over papers and
the television. This being said, its hard to imagine any professional
football, basketball or baseball team doing this, but the members of
the Blackhawks claim any "hockey" team would have done this. This is
one reason I continue to be a big hockey fan, and another reason I am
excited about this Chicago team. I thought I would share as this story
appears to have gone unnoticed.
Adam Burish & Kathy Jecmen GOAL LINE
I received this in an email from my good friend Amy. As I sat watching the 2009 NHL Winter Hockey Classic on New Years Day, I heard Brian Williams provide the voiceover for this very story. I had considered that Dale Tallon would be moved by this gesture from his team. What I hadn't considered was the impact on his eighty-year-old mother. It seems she too is a huge fan of the Blackhawks, but is unable to travel anymore. And she even has a favorite player, Patrick Kane. Much to the surprise of the players she knew each and every one of them by name as they came to pay their respects. Coach Tallon shared that he couldn't have imagined a more perfect respite from grief for his mother than those couple of hours she spent with those players.
And we have a local tie to one of those players. The captain of the Blackhawks in none other than Jonathon Toews who we watched play for the University of North Dakota. Considering he is all of 21 or 22 years old, we're proud of how he continues to lead his team, both on and off the ice!
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