George Naylor, Caledonia 

What more Canadian picture is there than a bunch of  Canadian kids, living the Canadian hockey dream, getting on a bus and going to a hockey game.  Going to play, across the snow and the miles and the empty.  Going to play.  On any given day, how many trips to a game are there?  Thousands?  How many games?  How many miles piled on,  every Canadian winter?

There is something poetic and essentially Canadian about this dream;  the time and the miles and the emptiness.  It’s something that touches us all, because most of us have done it, or know someone who’s been through it;  rode the bus;  going to a game.  Teams criss-crossing the country, heading toward a game against a rival.   Hockey is a brutal, physical, and unforgiving test, but perhaps the finest mix of speed, grace, and violence that there is in sport.

Hockey is a  very tribal culture.  Maybe that’s why  it appeals so much to so many Canadians.  I saw that team picture.  All those young heads with their hair dyed blonde for the playoffs.  Silly and crazy on one level, but on another level, it’s the “Band of Brothers.”  Going through a war together, and together is the key word.  It explains it all.

It is likely  the same with different games in different countries around the world, but it’s why hockey is Canada’s game.  The banding together in a common bond, against the cold and the empty.

Having had the privilege of being on a hockey bench with a team, on a bus, or in a dressing room, with a season and a dream on the line, I ache for the people of Humboldt.  I ache for the team, and the busload of people with a dream and the belief  and the willingness to try to make it real.

Thinking of you. This one touches home, and it hurts.