Monday morning I headed out to UBC to see what I would see at practice. I wasn't expecting much considering it was a STAT holiday.
I had told my son we would head out and maybe get to watch Cory Schneider practice. His name is Hunter and he one of two people I can thank for really getting me into hockey.
Hunter's love affair with hockey started at an early age and I had absolutely nothing to do with it. One day he picked up a golf cub and started playing hockey with it.
Hunter began asking me to see Sidney Crosby videos. This is when youtube became a BIG part of my life. I would find Sidney Crosby videos, Hunter would watch them and then he would go into the living room get out his mini nets, grab a stick, set up cones and do exactly what he saw SIdney Crosby do. He also asked me if he could change his name to "Sidney Crosby Hunter"
We were lucky enough to meet Cory later that year. A friend of mine took us down to the rink and for Hunter's 3rd birthday he got to meet Cory. Cory was incredibly kind. He signed a stick for Hunter, talked to Hunter about hockey. I told Cory that Hunter was his biggest fan in the city and Cory was so humble he said "Hunter is probably my only fan in the city" I replied and said "I know for a fact you have an entire city of fans behind you so don't worry about that." Cory left to get in his gear for practice but he didn't forget Hunter was in the arena. After watching a great practice I became a Cory Schneider fan myself that day.
After the Canucks left the ice it was Pittsburgh's turn. The Penguins started popping out of the tunnel one by one and about the 7th guy out was Crosby. Hunter could barely breath when he saw his hockey hero and I have to say it was pretty cool for me to see him skate as well.
Sidney Crosby not only ran drills with his teammates, he also gets that little boys far and wide admire him. At one point toward the end of practice Crosby started doing some puck handling exercises right in front of Hunter. He would do it fast and then slow it down so Hunter could keep up. Then he would do it again and then slow it down so Hunter could watch. Then he skated by and waved at Hunter and Hunter could barely contain himself. I again was just having a great time watching my son so happy.
At the end of the Pittsburgh practice Crosby was the last one off the ice. He picked up all of the pucks, and pushed both nets to the side of the ice for the Zamboni driver. Then Crosby stopped and signed an autograph for every little boy waiting. For a second I turned into "that Mum" who can't contain herself. I thanked Crosby for stopping to talk to Hunter and told him that Hunter asked to change his name to Sidney Crosby Hunter. Crosby had a laugh and looked right at Hunter and said "Hunter, don't chance you name. Hunter is a great name."
I guess all I am trying to say is that passion is what keeps me coming back to the game. The lockout sucks. It really does. I am proud of the players for standing their ground. I know this is an argument between millionaires and billionaires but at the end of the day it comes down to principal. Not honouring contracts and taking away the player's voices is wrong. Yes I understand it is a business but it is also a game. I think what should happen is the owners should lock themselves in a room and not emerge till they have come to a CBA within themselves to share the revenue between the more wealthy teams and the floundering teams. Then they can approach the players and decide on a fair CBA between the NHL and the players union. One where the players have current contracts honoured and they get to keep their voices about contracts, free agency and arbitation. How about them apples? Sounds fair to me.
Until then I will continue to take my son to watch children play at public rinks. Hunter couldn't take his eyes off the game Monday. Dan Hamhuis and the Thunderbirds were even skating in the rink next door and Hunter wanted to stay and watch the children play! I will continue to take Hunter to AHL games and I will take him to Vancouver Giants games! There will always be hockey and their will always be passion. I just wish the Owners could see that!