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Monday, 26 November 2012

NHL Lockout: A Simple Way To Say Thanks

The UTSC boys celebrating a 'duck hunt' win. 
     With no NHL to cheer for, and it seems to be staying that way for the unforeseeable future, playing hockey has took on a whole new meaning for me.

And for that NHL, I thank you.

Before, when the NHL was on basically every night and I could immerse myself in highlights every morning, hockey was all around me. Now, it is nowhere to be seen.

Heading to the rink with my bag slung over my back and two sticks in hand brings a whole new sense of excitement.

I always knew that hockey needed to be a part of my life. I never quite realized however, just how big of a part it actually plays in it.

The Chicago Blackhawks are my team. Even without a NHL season I still follow all there happenings religiously. But still, it does not fill that missing void that is there because of a non-existing NHL season.

In order to make up for all that missed time dedicated to hockey, I have come to enjoy the recreational game that much more.

It is a thrill to arrive at the rink, no matter what time of the night or early morning it is.

I am lucky enough to be apart of one of the best extramural hockey programs in the province. At UTSC (U of T Scarborough campus) we are spoiled.

For the minimal cost of 80 dollars we get a practice every week and play in a contact league consisting of teams from all three of the University of Toronto campuses. Throw in an away tournament in Brockville, and a few others closer to home, and it just can not be beat.

We play to make it into the final tournament hosted at Durham College/UOIT that stacks the best of the best from around the province against each other. It is what drives our team.

And of course, winning the 'duck hunt'. That is where we lace them up against our cross city rivals from UTM (U of T Mississauga campus). So far, the two times I have played in this game we have won both.

It is the one game where we actually get a crowd out, so it means a lot.

Me, playing the point. The blue line is my natural home.
Some people have turned their sports appetite to other major leagues, but not me (although I have started to become a little more intense about cheering for the Toronto Raptors). I have turned that void in my life into enjoying the game myself, in its natural purity.

No more do I need to watch a hockey game every night, but rather I can look forward to my own time on the ice. Not saying I do not miss the NHL (because I do, drastically) but I am saying that I can enjoy the game like I did as a child once more.

We all learned the game playing and dreaming big. Although I know my shot at the NHL has passed long ago (if it even ever existed) it is fun to still play the game as I once did and to bring back some of that competitive flair that existed so long ago.

But do not fear NHL, once you all settle your issues I will once again be cheering every night. Except for those nights when I have my own hockey that is. Because if you taught me one thing over this continuing lockout; it is to never forgot the enjoyment the game itself brings.

Never stop playing.

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