It’s Thanksgiving. In a normal year many of our hockey families would be getting ready for the annual ubiquitous Thanksgiving tournaments. Myself, I usually had the assignment of going early in the morning to pick up the donut holes at Duncan and supplying the Winnetka rink for the Wishbone Tournament run by Tom Gullen for so many years. I remember seeing a future NHLer playing for the Madison Capitols at an age division above his real age and dominating the ice. I also remember Capitol’s Coach Suter do something I had never seen before or since. He argued with the referee and got him to change his call on a goal. You see what happened is that a player shot a puck on Suter’s team’s goal and it was called… no goal. Coach Suter and all of us in the arena clearly saw the goal go in, everyone except the referee. The coach argued with the ref and said, “You have to call that a goal against my team, we all saw it.” The referee relented and reversed his call. It was a remarkable feat of sportsmanship that I will never forget.
I wish with all my heart that I could see the stands filled with families; parents, grandparents and siblings from teams from all over the country crowded in to watch their teams battle for a win that means nothing more than the pride of the achievement for doing their best. This year it is not to be. All of us volunteers that left our families at home or another rink while we ran these tournaments would once again gladly sacrifice our time and the exasperation of our spouses to be able to do it again this year. Sadly, it is not meant to be. We are missing hockey, and even our archrivals out there on the ice. It makes all of us sad at the loss.
But how much more is the sadness of losing a loved one to this insidious disease? I have spent most of my adult life involved with healthcare. I see the sacrifice being made by the doctors, nurses and all the others who are tired and at their wits end caring for all our loved ones. In some cases, being there for us as we cannot be by their bedside at such a crucial moment. We owe each one of them, healthcare provider and patient alike, by doing our part to keep them safe. Wearing a mask or avoiding a large group seems little enough given what they are going through. My heart goes out to all the high school seniors who are missing so much in this pivotal year in their life. I know these kids and I know the regret and sadness they would feel if they somehow were the instrument that transmitted this disease to their families and friends.
So I say, be thankful. We are closer to the end than the beginning and there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Stay the course and we will all be there together to enjoy each other and this great game.
Have a peaceful and hopefully healthy Thanksgiving. I look forward to seeing you all again in the rink when it is deemed safe.
Chairman-AHAI High School Committee