Today the Bladies wrapped up a three game sweep of Alberta in fine fashion, shutting out the visitors 2-0 in front of a stalwart matinee crowd at Veterans Memorial Arena. Today was another great example of what makes the Blades so special. Game time was 12:35 pm. For those training full time for the national team, it was a reminder of how great life is when you get to play a hockey game on a weekday afternoon, when most other adults our age are punching the clock. For those Bladies who work, it was like getting away with something, the same feeling you had as a little kid playing hooky, bucking responsibility to do something thrilling.
There may not have been hundreds in the stands, but those who were there were treated to a show. Despite the back to back to back games, and roster changes causing us all to log a little more ice time than usual, we played 60 minutes of fast paced physical hockey. Why? Because we can. There was ice, refs, a clock and a puck. There were some of the best players in the world facing off, and we skated to a barn burner of a six on five finish. What a gift of an afternoon.
Former USA coach Ben Smith used to tell a story about an aging Joe DiMaggio, who, at the end of his career, and the end of the season, his team with no chance for the playoffs, legged out a pop fly with the same grit and desire as if he were clawing for a triple on a base hit.
When the ball was inevitably caught, Joe trotted back to the dugout where one of the rookies asked him why he had worked so hard for no reason. His response will always stay with me. He said, "somewhere out there is a guy working two jobs who has been saving up to take his kid to watch me play. I want to make sure he gets his money’s worth." DiMaggio put forth his best effort no matter what the outcome or who was in the stands. That’s the attitude we have in the CWHL. It is what makes our brand of hockey so inspiring and exciting. We don’t care about the external factors. We play with our hearts because we love what we do and we want to share that with anyone who comes to watch us.
Happy Holidays from the Bladies. We hope to see you around a rink in the New Year!