I regularly look at Kukla's Korner for the latest hockey news/stories that have made their way onto the net. This evening, upon waking from a Nyquil-induced coma, I saw a pair of stories that really showed the meaning of hockey. The two stories were posted back to back on the Korner and, even if it was just happenstance, them being next to each other really had an impact upon me.
The first story was of how Mickey Renaud, the captain of the Windsor Spifires (an OHL junior team), suddenly dropped dead today. There are more details here. That a six-foot-three, 220-pound 19 year old in prime shape could just stop living is astounding and it makes the game he played, the game we all love, look that much smaller and irrelevant.
The second story was about a bunch of guys in Edmonton who set the new record for longest hockey game. These guys played for 10 days, Team Hope vs. Team Cure, and earned more than $300,000 for cancer research in the process. A simple game, played on ice by a bunch of dudes in the freezing cold of the Canadian prairie, can get people to donate their time and their money to help find a cure for cancer.
Sometimes a game just a frivolous athletic activity. Sometimes a game is just a game. But if you love it, it's so, so much more. RIP Mickey.