Nearing the End of a Hockey Era

hockey scoreboardTime is ticking down on the Devil’s season, her minor hockey career and a major focus of our family’s life over the past 14 years or so. While this season has been a challenge on and off the ice for the Devil and I, there is still no substitute or equal to going to the rink and watching my kid play. And whether I like it or not, those chances are fleeting. While I coach the entire team, I also root for her to do well…for her to have fun in these last few weeks; regardless goals, assists, wins or losses; just fun playing hockey like she did when she was 4. I know, what say we just roll time back a while?

This past weekend the Devil and her teammates played their final regular season game, in which they needed to a secure a victory in order to advance on to the playoffs; albeit in the last spot, which would in turn mean a date with the number one squad and their 20-1-1 record.  I told the players before our last game all I wanted for them was a playoff chance, having been part of an upstart Cinderalla team a few years back. Unfortunately, the somewhat anemic offence, which put them in their must-win predicament, would once again be their downfall. The team played hard from the start, but found themselves in a 1-0 hole after the first period. They out-played and out-chanced their opponents throughout the second period and the first half to the third and yet the scoreboard read 2-0 bad guys with 7 minutes left in the match. Our side was even the beneficiary of a couple of powerplays, including a 5 on 3 advantage, yet could not find the back of the net. As the clock rolled down around the 5 minute range I decided I would go for broke at the next opportunity and pull our goaltender in favour of an extra skater. The opportunity would not present itself for another couple of minutes and I saw the season winding down along with the chronograph. My last ditch attempt only served to make the final score 3-0 as their side found its way behind our defence with an open net before them.

So now all we have left to hang our hopes on is a best-out-of-3 series with the aforementioned 20-1-1 side as they also happen to not so conveniently be our regional provincial playdown foes. Did I mention in three games this year our aggregate score against this team is 21-3 and we’re on the wrong side of the equation? Realistically, we need a monumental effort if we wish to advance. Cue the pre-game speech from “Miracle” or some other such call to arms. My all-time favourite movie is Henry V and maybe it’s time for a pre-series viewing of the St. Crispin’s Day speech, as our early odds of victory are somewhat similar to those of Henry’s overmatched charges preparing to take on the French.

I do, as always, hold out hope for our band of underdogs. Hope they can rise to the occasion and pull off an upset. Hope we get to watch a few more games. Cuz I, for one, am still not quite ready for it all to be over. We do have a whole buncha practices between now and the end of March, but those just ain’t the same when there are no actual games to prepare for and no tryouts for next season on the horizon. Then again it’s time on the ice, which is better than the alternative and we’ll make the best of it…try to get a few chuckles in along the way. Tick, tock…