itgroove has their office in the Save On Foods Memorial Center (a hockey arena) in Victoria (my God, how much more Canadian can you get, eh?). The arena is home to the WHL’s Victoria Royals, a junior team full of young players with aspirations to the national team and beyond to the NHL. These are kids who skate their hearts out on a daily basis, who are out there honing their skills for the sheer love of the game, hoping that they can one day attain the status of their idols, the stars of the NHL. Team management and coaching staff strive to instil a sense of balance in these kids and an understanding that the game is all about playing as a team, about pulling together to reach a common goal (not a bad life or business lesson, when you think about it). And yet we see their idols, the NHL players (and the NHL management and owners) providing us with the spectacle of a house (or team) totally divided and incredibly petulant, scrabbling over the megabucks that professional hockey generates in North America. What the hell kind of lesson is this for the kids in all of the junior leagues and teams across the country?
I’m not a hockey fan but I work in a hockey building and alongside those who might be described as “rabid” fans. I interact on a daily basis with the people who help to keep the Royal’s operational and viable and I see the corrosive effects of this stupid, stupid spat between the owners and the players on those who ultimately provide all of them with their paycheques – the hockey fans, the people that love the game, the kids that dream of the chance to play with their idols in storied venues. And I say to hell with the NHL!!!!
If you are a hockey fan, switch your allegiance from the fat cats who have grossly over estimated their importance in the grand scheme of things to the kids in all of the various junior leagues. Go all out and support the kids on teams like the Royals and show them that love of the game trumps “love of money”. Show them that the lunacy that now pervades the NHL and NHLPA is just that, lunacy! and that it has no place in hockey or any other team sport. But most of all, go out and support the kids that still play for the sheer love of it. Support the kids that still dream the big dream about playing great hockey at the highest level. Support the kids that play for the sheer joy of it all. Thumb your noses at the NHL and the players (and maybe at all of the organized pro sports that have completely lost sight of what the various games are all really about – sport, joy and teamwork). Give your support to those who truly deserve it.
Who knows, maybe we can change the way things work at the pro level? At the very least, we can give a major boost to those who really need it and are the most deserving of your support, the kids in all of the junior leagues.
Go, Royals, go!