Tonight I watched as my (second) home team lifted Lord Stanley’s cup. Tonight the Detroit Red Wings defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-2 to win the cup in 6 games. This matters to me as a Canadian-American. This matters to me as a life long fan of the game and hockey player. This matters to me because of what it represents the pinnacle of success, the ultimate in sports sacrifice, the powerful demonstration of “team”.
In 1998 I had the honor of sitting at center ice 18 rows up and watching my beloved Wings win the first game on the way to their tenth cup. Tonight I watched from my home in Southern California as the finished off another wonderful story book season. Different players, different coach, different competition, same outcome. This game is about passion and the team with the fire burning brighter inside is the victor. The team that forgets the name on the back of their own jersey and plays for all the names on the back of everyone else’s. That defines the winner
Hockey is a game for leaders. Not the flashy charismatic crap you see in other sports. No this is a game of hard working and often remarkably humble men who know how to honor their competition as they battle with a ferocity unmatched in other sports to beat them into submission. There is no room for pain, cuts, bruises broken bones,you play through if you can skate through, if you can shoot through.
Until now I have spared you all the wealth of hockey metaphors I could write about. This is a rich sport, one for the courageous, one for the persistent. It is a magnificent game. Tonight the first European born team captain lifted the cup, tonight a 16 year veteran lifted it for the first time, tonight a young man from a little known province became the first ever Newfoundlander to lift the cup.
It was a night of firsts a night of jubilation for my second home team.
Congratulations to my wings and all their fans. You deserve this one (number 11) hockeytown!