Thursday, November 27, 2008

An Open Letter to Bobby Orr

Dear Mr. Orr,

You might recognise me(HA!) as the woman who neither cheered nor applauded as your number was raised to the rafters last night at General Motors Centre in Oshawa. Please don't take it personally. I was merely doing my job. People have to give up a couple things when they get media passes; contrary to popular belief, a mind is not one of them. The rules are:

1)Media cannot cheer or boo.

Do you have any idea how tough it is to see the number of arguably hockey's greatest player retired and not cheer? People who don't know you're media, who don't know press box etiquette glare as though you're clubbing amputee seal pups.

2)Media cannot ask for autographs.

It is so frustrating to be around athletes yet unable to ask for autographs. Having Ilya Kovalchuk's ice pack drop on my boots, while memorable, isn't quite the same. Twice I have met Robert Gordon Orr and not once could he sign anything for me because of my press pass. I've let people in front of me at events to avoid the temptation of asking Wendel Clark to sharpie his John Hancock on a jersey.

Being Slovak I'm devoid of the "hide emotions" gene. Slavs are not renowned for their emotional restraint. At the rink displays of emotion are kept in check(Czech?)away from the public eye. My heart sees and feels it all even though others might think I'm some soul-lacking automaton.

Someday, Mr. Orr, we will meet when I don't have a pass. You'll recognise me as the person hugging you, finally getting that autograph after 38 years.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

As Grand as Playing Your First NHL Game

That's how I felt today, or more accurately, I felt the way I imagine hockey players do when they play in their first NHL game. What brought this on? My name is listed in The Hockey News under "interns." I've seen my name in credits before but this means more than all the others combined. As I kid, I saved my allowance to buy The Hockey News when it really was a newspaper - how I miss that hot-off-the-press smell and the ink all over my hands. Back then there was no girls hockey where I lived so The Hockey News was the closest a small town girl could get to the daily grind of hockey life. Reading about Ron Duguay, Darryl Sittler, or some kid named Gretzky fuelled my hockey furnace. There were no female hockey writers but my childhood imagination didn't run on reality. I dreamed and dreamed that someday my writing would appear in The Hockey News. That hasn't happened but some of my edits are in there, not like the staff writers need much editing. They are not excellent hockey writers - they are excellent writers - period. I feel intense pride seeing a piece I worked on in the magazine or on the web site, not a boastful, arrogant pride - I'm just so damn happy to be involved with something that has been part of my life for years. If this is the first game feeling, I can't wait to get the writers equivalent of the Stanley Cup feeling.