The Hockey Community – a great tribe in the face of great tragedy

This weekend one of our coaches put on the ice her project of the last 9-10 months. Making history in the process. She put on the ice the first female hockey league in the state. She worked tirelessly and positively to make a difference in the lives of our players, parents and coaches. It was truly a magnificent thing to watch. She and her husband are the primary on ice coaches for the Beginner’s program and some of our 10U teams. They inspire us with their positivity, respect and evenhandedness, even when under pressure.

I spent many minutes in conversation with parents, grandparents and guardians cementing that thought. It was truly an amazing thing to see the efforts make such a difference. All of the players came off of the ice with smiles on their faces. The scores were even, every girl got a touch on the puck at some point.

This got the “little grey cells” as Hercule Poirot says, working on this tribe to which as hockey players and fans belong. I count amongst my friends, both virtual and real, as varied a group as one could imagine. I have a close friend living in Dublin, Ireland that goes by the Twitter handle @ABNThockey that has been there for me as as writer and a human being. I have never met him face to face, but share as close a friendship as any I have had in recent times. I chatted with the father of a daughter on our collective daughters soccer team. He is an Italian, born in Italy, educated and employed by Boston College. He makes annual migrations to Boston to watch and hang out with the team and knows all of the players that are in the NHL, despite not following the league.

Those are but a few of the folks that I have had the good fortune to make contact with during my lifetime of hockey fandom. To be sure, not every person that I have come across via the game has been a good person. There have been some true jackasses. The vast majority of people are fantastic and have the best intentions.

With the recent horrific images from, Florida, Texas and Puerto Rico coming in I was dumfounded at the level of tragedy happening around the U.S and the Caribbean. Then the news of Las Vegas and the mass shooting opened my morning. The level of loss and injury at the hands of what appears to be a mentally ill man with an assault rifle is just staggering and heartbreaking. Most of us are walking around in a daze with the ever-present question on our lips. Why? I cannot pretend to know the answer and will make no attempt to do so here.

In the wake of yet another, in a recent parade of tragedies, I am impressed and inspired by the hockey community. In every case they have banded together, Conservative Canadian Farmers, died in the wool US liberals, US born muslims, self professed Rednecks and all points in between, to aid their fellow human beings. Bring Hockey Back, an online t-shirt and hockey lifestyle brand began selling t-shirts, with all of the profits going to the victims of Harvey. Members of my online and physical friends volunteered and are currently aiding those in need.

It is such a small thing to play hockey, to be a fan, to be a part of a global community that loves this great game of ours. But that small thing is accomplishing so much, in uniting so many. First we come for the love of hockey and we are united in that, looking past all but team preferences. Then we come together to aid those in need. To help each other heal in the face of another senseless shooting. Bring your loved ones near. Hug them a little tighter. Enjoy those moments you have, watching your kids on the ice. Enjoy that time that you have on the ice, sharing your love of the game with your teammates and opposing teams alike. Mostly, be kind to each other. Peace. – Daniel

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