I realize that the easy and trendy thing to do as Thanksgiving arrives is to write a piece related to being thankful, appreciative, etc. Yet, sometimes easy is absolutely appropriate. This is one of those times. As I look back on the last year, I would be remiss if I didn’t express my appreciation and gratitude for the following:
A huge thank you to Chapter 5 Foundation, Dr. Missy Holas and mega stick taps to Daniel Carcillo for opening up your arms and inviting me to spend the day with The Stanley Cup and help raise funds to launch your important work. Yes life after sports, and hockey in particular, is not an easy transition for athletes who leave it all on the field or ice. Your work, your commitment and your heart is making a difference. I was honored to give then, and will continue to do so to ensure those that I have the honor and privilege to write about have the best possible life after the whistle blows one last time.
Stick taps also to the entire Chicago Blackhawks organization. Yes, winning the 3rd Cup in 6 years was amazing, but it is what you all do behind the scenes that matters even more. Your commitment to the community by building new ice rinks in the inner city is only matched in amazement by the incredible work in raising funds through Blackhawks Charities. The tireless work by those behind the scenes does not go unappreciated by me and others, as is evidenced by allowing us in to the new locker room for a tour on game day. Let us also not forget the player commitments off the ice, from signing autographs outside the gates as you try to head home after the game, to attending events on one of your rare days off. The respect you continue show to us fans, by honoring commitments regardless of the logistics involved, reminds us all of why you are all truly Champions. It should be every organization’s and business’s goal to emulate what you have done and continue to do.
I must also thank The Hockey Writers. Bruce, Mike, Jeff, Nissa and the rest of the editors are the best in the business. Thank you for allowing me to turn a passion into a platform with which to share stories with all those who love hockey. I know you work tirelessly so that we writers may shine, and I raise a toast to you for making me better as a writer and a person.
Stick taps also to you my loyal readers, for supporting my work. I recognize that there are many sites and many authors begging for your attention. Yet somehow, you take the time out of your busy lives to give my articles a read. Even better, you share your thoughts and feedback, even if critical, in a well-thought and adult manner. I really really appreciate not being thrown under the Zamboni! I would also be remiss if I didn’t thank my fellow peers at THW for getting the word out. Every re-tweet is much appreciated and reinforcement that I can do this writing thing.
Thank you also to my Hockey Family. Your support and appreciation for the game, and of course the Blackhawks, keeps me going every day. So Kristi, Kristi L, Penny, “Vegas”, Beth, Allison, Jenzy, Caitlin, Stephen S, Erin, Kristen, Jeff, Rana and the rest of you; I offer my sincerest thank you for your friendship, love and support. Hockey may have served as the common element to forge a bond, but clearly our laughter and stories now go way beyond the game we all love.
— Beth (@beth_sweeney4) November 24, 2015
There are not enough stick taps in the world for this next person. Felicia, my loving sister, thank you for showing that Puck Cancer and Strength are not mere words, but a way of life. Your fight is one that exceeds anything seen on the ice, and is a million times more inspiring and motivating. While I so badly want to fix you, or happily trade places with you, I recognize it is your actions and message that means more than our physical time here on earth. You continue to remind everyone that the game of life can be won, even in the most challenging of times. Mom and dad raised us right, and you are doing the same for your kids. You never give up, and neither will we.
Lastly, I save my final thanks and stick taps for my best friend; the one who gives me unconditional love and support despite my many shortcomings. Sisi, you are the one person whose feedback matters the most, the only one who can snap me back to reality when I lose my way. I know it isn’t easy dealing with me at times. You recognize and encourage my writing as a way to help put my thoughts into words, and always provide a favorable review. Your passion for Blackhawks and IceHogs hockey is only matched by mine, and I am the luckiest person in the world to be allowed to spend freely on our “little hobby”. The memories we have already created, as well as the ones yet to come, have given me more than I deserve. Thank you isn’t enough. I love you – always have and always will.
My dear readers, no make that true friends, thank you again for all of your support. I pray that I never let you down and that your lives are as rich for having known me as mine is for having known each of you. Stick taps to all. Now go stuff yourselves!
Rick is fortunate to live off the I-90 hockey corridor where both his beloved Chicago Blackhawks and Rockford IceHogs (aka Baby Hawks) call home. Hockey has been in his blood since the early 1970’s when he saw his first Blackhawks game at the “Old Barn”. His favorite player is Keith Magnuson followed closely by Bobby Hull (old school!). When not covering the greatest sport, he enjoys watching live music and has even been known to join his beloved bands on stage for a song or two. Follow Rick on Twitter via @HawksStrength