Alright. I cry Uncle. Enough is enough.
I can’t take anymore.
After three NHL deaths this offseason – two of which were confirmed suicides – the hockey Gods showed they were capable of much more destruction than we thought we could handle. Individual deaths are heartbreaking enough to try to make sense of; but an entire team finally feels like too much. The hockey world lost an entire team of world class athletes when Yaroslavl’s Yak-42 prematurely plummeted to Earth on its way to Belarus. But for their families, the plane took down an entire team of fathers, brothers, sons, and loved ones.
When one person in the hockey world dies too soon, we grieve for the family. On a day like today, we’re all family.” –Adam Proteau from The Hockey News
This was supposed to be the day when Sidney Crosby told us absolutely nothing at a pre-packaged press conference. This was supposed to be another day that we celebrated as our hockey heroes slowly trickled back to their NHL homes from the dreaded offseason. For some, this was supposed to be another day removed from the Wade Belak tragedy that still has healing scars.
Whatever today was supposed to be—this isn’t it.
We weren’t supposed to hear, “Latvian officials have confirmed the death of Karlis Skrastins.” We weren’t supposed to read that the Czech Embassy in Russia “confirmed the death of three Czech players: Joseph Vašícek, Karel Rachunek and Jan Marek.” Out here on the West Coast, we weren’t supposed to wake up to IIHF president Rene Fasel telling us that it is “the darkest day in the history of our sport.”
And we sure as hell weren’t supposed to see this:
Some of us are wondering what the point of all of this destruction? Why are the rest of us, yet again, left to deal with the grief? All the sudden, getting that second-line center or depth defenseman doesn’t seem quite as important as it used to. Which is a shame—because isn’t sports is supposed to be our outlet. Aren’t sports supposed to be our escape from the tragedies and intermittent heartbreak of “real life?” Instead of visions of Stanley Cups and fantasy hockey victories dancing in our heads; we’re left to wonder about parents grieving their children, wives grieving their husbands, and children grieving their fathers.
It’s time to get the hockey season started. Not in the callous way of “the show must go on,” but because this offseason has dealt the world enough. It’s time to get the hockey season started because throughout the speed and implicit violence within our sport, it’s never this bad. Hockey players get up from devastating body checks and they recover from having their head collide with a stanchion between the benches. Those are hockey player problems.
This offseason has been filled with human tribulations. Let’s get this show on the road because the hockey world can’t handle much more of this. I know I can’t.
(Video via SBNation)