Thoughts on NHL Opening Night

We’re all getting older.

Because of this, time seems to move faster–at least, it sure seems that way. The months feel shorter and the seasons come earlier than they used to. The days fly by and the nights get here sooner than they did before. All the while, we wait.

We all look forward to something. We count down the days, check the minutes, and we wait.  When it happens, there’s a very distinct feeling. The air feels different and so does the light. There’s a newness–a clean slate. There’s a feeling of possibility and endless opportunity; anything can be accomplished and nothing is off limits. It’d be easy to say it transcends time, but that wouldn’t be fair because for however long the circumstance can be measured, the circumstance is perfect.

But sometimes, what we wait for isn’t as good as we thought it’d be. Something seems off and when we try to think of what it is, we can’t place it. We guess. We assume. We think we know but really, none of us ever do. So we try to think about how we can fix it; how we can turn it around. And sometimes, we just can’t. Sometimes, we just need to see it through until it’s over and hope for the best next time.

Of course, everything that we look forward to happens quickly and then, it’s over. And when it’s over, we wait for something to look forward to again because it’s the only constant we know.

Early_indoor_ice_rinkFor a lucky few, this is hockey.

Some of us are writers, while others are players, coaches, managers, officials. All of us are fans. And right now–right this very moment–is what we all wait for.

The fall air becomes synonymous with a game played on a sheet of ice that extends into the long, cold nights in the dead of winter. We think this is an attractive thought because nothing beats the feeling of what hockey can do to you.

At the beginning of every season is promise. Not just in the NHL but in any organization across all levels. The rabid enthusiasm from the 3-year old learning to skate for the first time is eerily similar to a veteran in his final year in the pros. From September until NHL Opening Night in October, nothing gets stale. Training camps become practices, practices become games, games become moments. And those are the moments we wait for.

Of course, there will be losses. They come in different iterations–defeat, injury, and flat out exhaustion. Some bounce back, others do not. Passion gets tested until we move on to the next game, the next practice, the next day. Then, we remember why it is we got into this in the first place. That feeling.

As we get older, the aura around it stays the same. Holidays feel different and so do birthdays, but hockey is a constant.

Sometimes it can’t be described and sometimes, that’s enough to describe it all.