The Flyers opened training camp this week, and there will be live Flyers hockey on my television in under two weeks. I feel just like a kid before Christmas. Tonight I am watching one of the last few Flyers ‘rewinds’, the game in Montreal played on November 30th. While I didn’t watch this game live since my son and I were celebrating his birthday on a Caribbean cruise, it is still a game that I know has a happy ending.
It is that adrenaline rush, the screaming at the TV as my family rolls their eyes that I miss. I do think that hockey is the most exciting sport on the planet, so much so that I did watch several games, in whole or in part, on that same cruise. I don’t usually book vacations during hockey season, but my son is a November baby, and this was his 18th Birthday celebration. I have taken off work to watch day games, and we have taken vacations to see the Flyers play on the road. Yes, I am a Flyers addict, and there is no cure. The NHL and especially the Flyers, is my normal.
Much has been said about the NHL returning; much has been negative. The fans are selfish to even want it, the NHL is putting profits above the health of the players. I have even questioned the emotional cost the players are paying in not being able to see their families. There is obviously a health risk in this new Covid-19 world we live in.
While I am not of the ‘these men get paid millions of dollars, they need to do their jobs’ school of thought, I do realize that there is an inherent risk in being a professional hockey player. Nolan Patrick is currently paying that price; being denied the chance to play the game he loves due to injury. The Flyers locker room got hit with a nasty flu bug in mid-February that saw Joel Farabee miss several games and lose somewhere near ten pounds. This particular flu was so virulent that Ivan Provorov, who may or may not be a machine, almost missed a game. The NHL had a mumps outbreak in 2017. Yes, the mumps, a disease that was all but eradicated long ago.
There will always be risks in any sport, but it does seem that the NHL has a comprehensive plan to keep the players as safe as possible. The players know the risks, and very few have opted out. I respect that decision, and would never dare to question any players that opt out. For the record, I also don’t question the players decision to play. I don’t think they are playing for money, I think they are playing for the same reason I am counting down the days until I see live hockey….they just want normal back. I am in awe of the courage of these mere mortals, taking this risk to help the world return to some sense of normal.
Photo credit NHL.com, Instagram post from Author’s personal Instagram
By: Phyllis Hunter (@flyersfan1129)