Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Pretty Darn Close

Last year around this time I posted about the boys' hockey team winning the gold medal in a shootout ending to a nail-biter game.
I also mentioned that on same day the boys' hockey team had a great end of season party with cake and a fun road hockey game to wrap the evening up.
Plus, we lucked out in a huge way and met the University of New Brunswick men's hockey team who just happened to be partying across the road with the University Cup which they had just won again to be the top team in Canada.
The lads had one of the most fun days they had ever had since starting hockey.

Well, a year later the story isn't quite the same but the important things are unchanged.

Unfortunately, our beloved UNB team didn't win the University Cup this season. They had a great season and did win the Atlantic conference though. That's a huge accomplishment.
I can say quite confidently that everyone who supports them and probably even some who don't are very proud of them for their efforts.

As for our young lads, the season again came down to their team playing for the gold medal.
Once again the game was a nail biter right down to the last second of regulation time and the entire 5 minute overtime period.
And again, it came down to a shootout to decide who would win the gold medal.

I wish the powers that be in the hockey world would make a change somewhere and let them play at least one more overtime period.
Or perhaps change the overtime period from 5 minutes to 10 before forcing a shootout.

If you're thinking I'm saying this because the boys didn't win the game that's not why I'm saying this.
Even last year when we won the game many of us agreed that a shootout isn't a proper way to decide the victor of an amazing game.

With a few seconds left in the regulation time one of our boys took a shot that hit the top crossbar and bounced down. From where I was sitting it bounced down as a goal and out again but I was sitting higher up with an unobstructed view of the net.

The referee and linesmen didn't have the luxury of my view and decided that it wasn't a goal.
No-one can blame them for that. They see what they can and make the best decisions possible with the information available to them.
They have a tough job which I don't envy. Not many people tell them what a great job they have done but many will whine about how bad they think they are. (Hmm, those folks are well prepared to become Municipal Councillors aren't they? Lol.)

I wish I could tell you that the shootout ended with one of our kids blasting the puck into the top corner for the winning goal but that didn't happen this time.

But you know what? Both T and B were shooters for our team and did the best that they could.
Think about the pressure of being that shooter and the goalie facing him.
Every eye in the place is on you.
If that were me I think I'd pass out onto the ice!

T took the last shot. It didn't go into the net but dammit I was so proud of him!
When I went down to the ice and told him that it was a good try he said that he had let the team down.
I told him that there were other shooters too. Just because he was the last one didn't mean he was to blame for anything.
They all did their best under pressure and I was proud of them.
That feeling of his went away pretty quickly thanks in large part to his beautiful young lady friend telling him how proud she was of him. :)

When all was said and done at the end of the day all of the guys were really happy and understood that even if a silver medal isn't the top prize, it's pretty darn close and a heck of an accomplishment.

Out of all of the teams in their level they were close to being the best.

In my opinion with the way the game ended I feel that they are just as good as the other team even though the medal doesn't indicate it.
Someone reminded me that the other team was the team that we beat 5-0 in the Hampton tournament a little while ago.
Each time we played them this season the games were very close. They won some and we won some.

By the time the medal presentations came along I could tell that every one of the guys were feeling good about everything. There were no tears or angry faces anywhere.

Cheryl was the team manager this year and had arranged for the end of season party and events to follow the final game without us having to leave Willie O'Ree Place.
This was an amazing choice on Cheryl's part.
We were able to get one of the party rooms upstairs.
I went and picked up a stack of pizzas which the boys devoured like a pack of hungry wolves.

It was a fantastic sunny day outside so Cheryl had told everyone in advance to bring their street hockey sticks. Awesome thinking again.
I set up some orange pylons in the big empty section of the parking lot and let them have a blast.

But the fun wasn't over yet!
Everyone went back up to the party room for cake. That's it in the photo at the top.

THEN, the boys and a bunch of the parents, family and coaches trucked downstairs again and played the last game they would play this season.
Cheryl is a good sport and still pretty good at getting around on skates so she played for the Parent's team.
I haven't skated in years and am not as nimble so I declared myself the official photographer.
I don't know which kid started it but almost all of them wore one of their spare hockey socks on their helmets. It was quite funny to see.

It's a shame that the fun had to end.
Even though it was clear that all of these guys were totally exhausted I'm betting if someone had told them to do another activity they would have found some hidden energy and jumped in.
No-one cared about their medals being gold or silver. They all had a great time and that's all that mattered.

At the end of the day when everything was finished both boys told me that they had an amazing day and were sad that the season was over.

An amazing day wrapping up a good season where they had a lot of fun and made some pretty good friends.
That's the whole point isn't it?
This is what I want them to feel every year.
That they had fun and made friends.

Another victory.

Stay well,

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