Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Forced Out Of The Fold

If there's one thing true in professional sports, it's that you never know when it will end. It could be through retirement after a lengthy career that a player finally decides he or she has played enough to walk away. It could be through injury, as unfortunate as it is, but one has to weigh the balance between living a full and normal life or possibly being injured for the rest of his or her time on the planet. In some cases, though, it is beyond a player's control when his time ends with a team, meaning he's forced to pack his bags and search for work elsewhere or walk away from the game he loves despite still being in game shape. Consider me baffled when I was looking at Jared Aulin's stats for the Swedish Elite League's playoff only to discover he hasn't been playing regularly.

With Örebro playing Växjö in their series, I was surprised, shocked even, to find that Örebro had sat one of their most popular players for the last three games before entering Game Six on Monday night. Suddenly, the updates we do regarding friends of The Hockey Show who play in Europe may not be so stellar any longer, so I began to dig a little deeper to see if perhaps Jared was injured or perhaps dealing with a personal issue.

It turns out it was neither.

"I'm ready, focused and feel fresh if I get to play," Aulin told Pelle Strandman of NA. When asked if he was surprised to be left out of the lineup in this series, Aulin replied, "Absolutely, very surprised. But it is not my place to question anyone and everyone in the team deserves to play. When (you're not in the game), you have to be a supporter and work hard to get the chance again."

I respect Jared for his team-first stance which speaks to his character. However, some who left comments on the site felt entirely differently about Jared not dressing for key games against Växjö.
Any Day Of The Week wrote: "I can agree that not Aulin performed at a peak time but one thing is for sure, a bad Aulin is any day of the week a better player than Johan Wiklander! In the playoffs you have to win close games where often individual effort determines. The tools have Aulin, absolutely not Wiklander!"
Thankfully, it sounds like Örebro dressed him for Game Six in what some are saying could be his final game with Örebro. Personally, the bond he has with the community there is unlike any other in sports, and I want to firmly believe that this decision is less about how he is playing and more about icing a line-up that has some intangible that the 33 year-old Aulin doesn't bring to the table. I needed confirmation, though, so I went to the source. Or, at least, the social media source: Jared's Twitter account.
Well, that's not a good sign. It sounds as though Jared is already resigned to the fact that he won't be playing for Örebro next season or in the future.

I'm going to follow up with him via Twitter this week to see if I can get some confirmation that he'll indeed be leaving Örebro. From the way it sounds, his time with the team he helped get promoted to the Swedish Elite League is done and it's not by his choosing. That's the worst kind of news a player can get, and it comes at a time when life was just getting back to normal for Jared Aulin.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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