Next Sunday is Valentine’s Day – a.k.a. the day when the world’s greeting card and chocolate syndicates collude to tenderly and legally drain you of your legal tender – so this is as good a time as any to write about the aspects of the hockey business I have great affection for. Here are five of them:
• I love that first chill that ripples across your body as it acclimates to being inside an arena. It’s like a welcoming little handshake from the hockey gods. And it sure beats sweating to death in the middle of some fun-forsaken NASCAR event.
• I love the way the hockey world comes together in times of tragedy. Obviously, you’d prefer that heartbreaking and senseless catastrophes never occurred in the first place, but it’s impossible to put into words how proud I was seeing the unconditional support hockey fans gave to Leafs GM Brian Burke in the wake of his son Brendan’s death.
We can’t control fate or random happenstance, but we always can take on the often-unthinkable aftermath with bravery and inspiration; and for as often as we in the hockey community disagree on relatively trivial matters, there are few groups in any line of work who can match our capacity for empathy.
• I love that a tough NHLer like Mike Richards, who dealt with an angry flash mob in Philadelphia after my THN cover story on him last month, would take a couple minutes to send a brief ‘thank you’ note my way once he read it. Dude is all class – and when I tell people I cheer for individuals and not teams, this is exactly the kind of thing I’m referring to.
• I love being first to break a story. Now, I’d never imply we at THN are Dregerian in our news-breaking abilities, but it was a real thrill watching our scoop on new Lightning owner Jeffrey Vinik reverberate through the industry.
• Finally, I love my extended family at THN. We’re losing a longtime member of that family soon when senior copy editor Sam McCaig leaves us this month to become NHL editor for Yahoo Canada.
You won’t find a better person than Sam, whom we all wish only the best for.
Adam Proteau, co-author of the book The Top 60 Since 1967, is writer and columnist for The Hockey News and a regular contributor to THN.com. His blog will appear regularly in the off-season, his Ask Adam feature appears Fridays and his column, Screen Shots, appears Thursdays.
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