The Allen Americans will be back at practice today after a day off for most of the players. A day off that reminds players how great it is the play hockey in North Texas. With the temperature close to 80 degrees time for outdoors activity such as lounging at the pool or spending time with your buddies on the golf course. I will attend practice today and have a full report tomorrow.
With the events last night at the Dallas Stars game with Rich Peverley, it reminded me of how sports in general and hockey in particular is unique in several ways. From all of the reports Peverley is doing fine after his "cardiac event" thanks to the immediate care he was given by the medical team on hand at the game. He is at UT Southwestern's St. Paul University hospital where he will undergo testing over the next few days. In true hockey style, the only person that wanted to continue playing the game was Rich Peverley who expressed that thought as soon as he regained consciousness. And the outpouring of concern, thoughts, and prayers from all over hockey as well as from others was heart warming.
So today I wanted to share something about hockey other than the normal updates. I found the letter below on a blog and thought it was appropriate. The letter was written by Shane Darrow who is a graduate student studying Journalism at Ohio University. It is his goodbye letter to hockey. Enjoy.
never thought the
time would come.
On Sunday, I took off
my jersey and untied my skates for the last time. Sure, there will be beer
leagues and drop-ins, but it will never be the same.
Throughout the last 20
years of my life, I dedicated my life to hockey. Some of my first memories
growing up are roller blading around my garage at my old house in Traverse
City, Michigan, making up situations in my head. We all did it. It’s the
championship game in overtime, and the puck is on your stick.
I remember sitting on
my Dad’s lap and watching Pittsburgh Penguins games with him. He would
occasionally have a rum and Pepsi with him in a big glass, and when he’d
jokingly offer me a sip, I always forgot there was booze in it and would take a
drink anyway, only to spit it out in disgust.
I met my first friends
through hockey, many of whom I still keep in contact with to this day. There’s
something about the game that creates untouchable bonds between a group of people.
Bonds that distance doesn’t break, which is something so rare.
Looking back, I was
pretty lucky with all the things I got to experience. I got to be a captain in
high school, juniors and college; I broke scoring records; I was first-team
all-state twice; I got to play competitively until I was 23 years old.
However, there is no
accomplishment that begins with the letter “I” that will ever come close to
what I will miss most about playing hockey. One thing you learn early in
hockey, is how much more important “we” is than “I.” The things I will miss
most aren’t scoring goals, big hits and back-door feeds. I’m going to miss the
locker room, the road trips, the stories, the chirps, the parties, the heads
that turn when everyone walks into the bar together, and just the overall
atmosphere that is created when a team is clicking on all cylinders.
“I did it for the
story” lives deep inside many of us.
There is something to
be said about hockey players. We’re a breed unlike any other, and it may be
cliché, but the only way to understand it is if you have been a part of it.
It’s never just a team, it’s a family. You will fight with your family, but
when it comes down to it there isn’t a thing in the world you wouldn’t do to
look after them.
Hockey has taught me more
about life than anything else on this planet. You learn about discipline,
courage, toughness, teamwork and communication, but most importantly it was the
first aspect of life that will make you look at yourself in the mirror and ask,
“how far am I willing to go? How far am I willing to push for what I want?”
On the ice, as in life,
the person who is rewarded is the person who scratches and claws the farthest.
While the amount of
turmoil I went through growing up pales in comparison to many others, the ice
was always my therapy. You can’t ever skate away from your problems, but you
can at least avoid them for the hour or two you are at the rink. When you step
on the ice, life is perfect and all your problems have been resolved for the
There’s a reason why
it’s much easier to go to the rink at 5 a.m. than it is for work or school.
When life gave me
adversity, hockey was my counseling. Watching my Mom go through breast
cancer treatment when I was in high school wasn’t easy. Most of the time, I didn’t
know how to act or what to say. I was a stubborn kid who refused to accept what
was happening. But when I was on the ice playing in front of her, I always knew
where she was. After games, she was always the first to greet me. Win or lose,
she didn’t care. She knew I was happy.
During those moments at
the rink, nothing was wrong.
While we all chased the
dream growing up, there’s a reason why so many of our relationships fail. We’ve
already fallen in love with the game because we know it’s something that will
never leave us.
Hockey never cheats on
you; Hockey never gets divorced; Hockey never dies. There is always a fresh
sheet of ice somewhere. There is always a net to be sniped, and that first deep
breath of cold air when stepping onto the ice is a feeling that can’t be
Without hockey, my life
would mean little. Without the people I’ve met through hockey, my life would
So after 20 years, it
kills me to say goodbye. Thank you for everything you’ve given me, I will
always be grateful. You’ve taught me more about myself and about life than I
could have ever imagined.
To those still in
action, keep chasing your dream. Keep bettering yourself. But most importantly,
enjoy the ride and don’t miss a moment.
My career may be over,
but the memories will last forever.