Hey hockey, thanks

This is going to be a different tone and style of the article you might be used to from me. If you are expecting a Dallas Stars or Ilves update, or a fresh piece on the Allen Americans start I apologize and will be dropping more articles on all franchises very soon. For now, I ask that you bear with me and read further as this is long overdue. I recently received some news that has taken me a few days to even begin to process and for personal reasons, I will leave it at that.

I felt moved to write something as I have had a chance to reflect on that news more now and needed to put words down to keep that reflection with me in some form.

Some of my earliest memories of the sport of hockey are like that of many others, it started with the Mighty Ducks movie franchise and was watered and grown with the introduction of the Stars to Dallas. The sport was partially unfamiliar to me as there wasn’t much direct access to it in the Dallas area but I was more than curious to find out more. That leads me to one of my personal favorite stories growing up of my dad insisting that we didn’t need to buy a goal but rather build one out of fish netting and PVC piping. It may not have been the perfect measurements or had the red piping supporting a fresh white netting but it was mine. It was my goal and it was my chance to shoot the game-winning shot of game seven of the Stanley Cup Finals behind my childhood home. That was my first ever home rink.

Fast forward years later and after an obsession with baseball subsided I found myself once again enthralled with the beautiful sport on ice. More than ever before. It was triggered by one of my closest friends who is more like family to me and boy howdy, it’s been almost nonstop ever since. I finally took the leap to learn how to skate and eventually play the sport I had fallen madly in love with and even started this dream journey of working full-time on the journalism and media side of the game. I started a Texas-based hockey podcast named after the most glorious fast-food stop that there is that has allowed me to talk to professional hockey players far and wide and even consider some as friends.

Life has a wild way of slapping back to reality and that has done so now. I mentioned the podcast because when the idea came to fruition, friends and family were so on board that it left me in a steady state of bewilderment as I am sure it bewildered them as well. Why would I want to dive in head first to talk about hockey? I live in Texas. Why not talk about football or baseball or something that may lead to advancement in a quicker way? Some things are better left unsaid as that would make this article pages and pages long. Regardless, my immediate family was and has been behind me every step of the way. That immediate family has expanded into a sensational hockey family that I am eternally grateful for.

I say all that to say this. Thank you. Thank you to all of you that have supported me in this wild journey. Thank you to those that have texted me just to say, “Hey I saw this play and it was insane!” just to share in the sport that has encapsulated my day-to-day. Thank you to my family for letting me know they read my article and while they may not have understood some of it, they enjoyed it because they could hear my voice coming through the words.

Thank you to hockey for giving me a chance to experience what I love with family. Sitting around the tv with cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents knowing that it may be the only time hockey is on in their home but knowing it brought me nothing but pure unadulterated joy. Thank you to hockey for giving me a chance to spend time games with that same family over Christmas and sharing how much fun and enjoyment they had just being there and experiencing the game live and in person. Thank you for texting me and letting me know that someone from the same podcast network I was part of was sitting next to them in a completely different part of the country at a game. Hockey has a way of making the world feel so much smaller. Thank you for supporting the podcast by doing something as simple as wearing a shirt while out and about in hopes that someone will ask about it so you can share what your family was doing.

It means the world to me and I will take it with me as long as I am around and beyond and if you, the reader, have made it this far. Thank you for reading. My only request is that you take a moment to tell those around you that you love and appreciate them. It doesn’t matter if it’s a brother, a sister, your parents, or even your teammates. Tell them you love them. Let them know. It won’t go unremembered or unappreciated. Maybe just don’t do it showering after the game but I leave that choice to you.

With that, I leave you with this. Thank you to hockey. Thank you to my friends. Thank you to my family. Thank you. I will never be able to tell you enough how much you mean to me but I will try to live in a way that reflects my gratitude. So for now I just say, thank you.

Author: Fink

Stood in an elevator with Jere Lehtinen once. Full-time freelancer in all things media. Beer League Black Ace and big-time locker room glue guy.

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