We had been collectively holding our breath, without even realizing it; until today, when you could hear the huge exhale all over the OC. Now, it finally seems like summer is coming to an end and it’s time for hockey season to start. We knew that this is officially the week of summer. Many of our kids are back in school. But, in the back of our minds, behind all the hubbub that goes on this time of the year with the last barbeque, the last get away, on so on, it was there all along. Will he or won’t he? We had been told the announcement would come this week. As the days were crossed off the calendar, suddenly it was Friday and we would have to hear something today or we had all been lied to. Frankly, every day that went by, I thought was a strike against what we all wanted so badly. It’s always hard to deliver bad news, so if you have to tell people something they don’t want to hear, it’s best to do it on the Friday of a long holiday weekend at the end of summer, when no one is paying attention. I had prepared myself for that outcome. But no, could this be true? The tweet from the NHL? They would never mess with us like that, so it must be true! Then, the video! Visual confirmation! IT IS TRUE!!!!!
TEEMU IS BACK
And, the Hockey Gods have really dealt us a good hand. We already know that this will be this will be the last year. That is a comfort to know. Why? Because every time that Teemu skates on the ice this year, from training camp, every home game, every out of town arena, the Olympics, the play-offs, we will be in a place where we can savor all of those special moments and appreciate them for what they are. Remember past years? At the end of the season, we were thinking what if that was it? And you felt maybe, a little cheated, not really knowing. WE KNOW! Will it stop everyone from participating in our perennial chant, “One More Year”, I really doubt it. It’s become tradition to shout that a games toward the end of the season. We can always hope against hope.
As Teemu plays out the season, I hope his team mates will realize the unique situation where fate has placed them. They will be eye witnesses to an historic event. How many more goals? Assists? Who will be passed on the List of Most Everything? Who will see the crowd reaction at every enemy venue? No one is an enemy of Teemu. Some of us shed tears this morning when we got the news. All of us will shed some at some point next April, May, or God willing June. We can’t help it, that’s just the way we have come to react to one of our most beloved players.
As the season goes along, it will be interesting to see the media coverage because we know there will be quite a lot of it. But, just like those lucky 19 other men in the dressing room, we are in a unique place where we will be able to share in some small way the triumph of a hockey icon over time and age, even if it’s just for ONE MORE YEAR!