The Lighter Side of Sports - April 12th, 2018

By: Nabeela Damji

Thursday, April 12, 2018

The Lighter Side of Sports is usually an amalgamation of funny stories around the sports world. 

This week, I wanted to take the opportunity to talk about something different.

Hockey is a way of life in Canada.  Even if we haven’t personally played the game at a competitive level, almost every Canadian can recall a time when they laced up their skates and played at an outdoor rink or on a pond.  For me, my hockey talent didn’t quite develop naturally, so I spent most of the time sitting in the stands freezing and counting the minutes until either my first toe or finger fell off.

Whether we have personally played or enjoyed watching our friends and family play, it’s simple; hockey is in our blood. We have all at some point woken up at 5am to attend practice be it for us, or someone close to us.  I remember sitting in a freezing cold rink at 8am with a cup of Tim’s hot chocolate watching my cousins play the game we all have grown to love.

The accident that claimed 16 members of the Humboldt Broncos on April 6th was a devastating tragedy for the families involved and for our nation.  As I sat around trying to contemplate why this tragedy hit me so hard, it came to me.  And it’s pretty simple.  The hockey community is small, just like a family.  And for all of us, it feels as though we’ve lost family.  Canada is a country with 36 million people, but when it comes to hockey - we are all one. These kids were our rising stars, our brothers, sons, friends and kids.  The next time we sit in a cold rink on a snowy Saturday morning, or pack up our kids and their friends for a ride to the rink; we will think of them. 

The outpouring of support and unity shown by the sports world and Canadians around the globe is something that inspires me.  Sport is always seen as something that unites us.  Even if we may not cheer for the same team, the underlying message of sportsmanship and family is what the game is about.  And during these times, is when we as an entire community are able to come together as one family and heal.   If we didn’t know their names before, we do now.  And they will forever be immortalized in the game we love so much.