Saturday, 2 February 2019

A Nod To The Parents

I feel like Forrest Gump today. My involvement over the last three days of the 2019 Female World Sport School Challenge combined with the fact that there is a Bisons women's hockey game later today has me feeling like Forrest Gump in terms of running all over this city. If I didn't have passion for this game, some may call me crazy for devoting as much time as I do to the radio broadcasts of these games, but I believe in delivering the best product possible. It's not worth doing unless it's done right.

That said, I need a break as I prep for the Bisons and Thunderbords after calling a morning game between the Eastman Selects and Central Plains Capitals at 8am. As I sit here feeling like the cold from the rink this morning has invaded my bones in the comfort of Wayne Fleming Arena's pressbox, I know we're no far from these two Canada West rivals staging another epic chapter in their ongoing histories. It has me reflective of the amount of great hockey I get to see annually from athletes far more talented and far better at the game than I ever was, and I feel pretty lucky to be involved in some rather great stories, albeit reporting on them rather than being a part of them.

If the women qualify to go to Charlottetown, PEI to participate in their second-straight U SPORTS National Women's Hockey Championship, it's just one more instance where I get to watch the best eight teams in university hockey in Canada one more time. I don't take this for granted because it's their hard work and their sacrifices that allow me to see this hockey, and I think they deserve as much as the credit as I can bestow upon them for this effort and these sacrifices they make that allows me this opportunity.

Likewise, the women from the 16 teams participating at the 2019 Female World Sport School Challenge deserve the same credit because they're incredible athletes and amazing young ladies who will become the next U SPORTS stars and the next NCAA stars and the next amazing people who will take this sport higher. Each and every athlete who I've spoken to at this tournament is polite, well-mannered, thoughtful, and respectful, and I want to thank their parents, coaches, and everyone else who has mentored them in becoming outstanding young women and people.

One of the best experiences we had as a broadcast team last season was the late-night hangout with all the parents and supporters of the Bisons at a hotel lounge. We had laughs, there were stories told, and there was a general sense of pride from all who were there in the women wearing the Bisons' colours for how well these women were playing. But what struck me as the most important part of the night was that we, as supporters of the programs, were forging relationships and friendships through a common bond, and I'm proud to say that I still love seeing the parents of players after the game who want to talk to me as much as they do to their daughters. It's these relationships and friendships that bring teams and programs closer together, and I'm really looking forward to doing another "parents and friends" night in Charlottetown.

For the moms and dads and grandparents and sisters and brothers and friends and significant others and coaches who come out and support these women time and again, thank you. Thank you for believing in women's hockey at all levels. Thank you for raising and supporting these incredible young ladies who will undoubtedly make this world a better place.

This weekend's games are a testament to those people about whom we don't talk enough and certainly don't give credit enough. I want to be sure that you're all getting a little recognition for the efforts and sacrifices you've made to ensure that these women are top-flight athletes and even better people.

Thank you!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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