Ok, here’s the latest pile of hockey related horseshit to slide across my desk...
Picture this: You’re an NHL calibre enforcer. You’ve been close to cracking the NHL for about 10 years, but never made it. Not a single game in the big show.
Then, your Dad gets cancer. You return home to help out the family business and be with him. In the meantime, you’re a hockey player, so you join a part time minor league.
A year later, a real live NHL team actually comes calling, inviting you to training camp for the upcoming season! The dream is at hand!
However, because you signed so-called ‘retirement’ papers two years ago and then played in the most minor of minor leagues, now the NHL (just 3 possibly 4 teams out of 30!) will not let you participate in camp.
Welcome to the Brandon Sugden Story. Only the latest in a long line of public relations nightmares for the NHL, and I would advise them to make this situation right ASAP. I’ve signed the petition, but unless the NHL feels they’re going to lose significant money on Brandon Sugden merchandise, it is assumed they will do nothing.
The team with the invite is the New York Islanders, so it’s believed that the other teams in their division do not want Sugden on the ice against their teams. Pure class. As if Sugden playing a few games this year would make any sort of long term difference to their success, either on or off the ice.
How many shifts is he really going to get? How many fights? If he does fight, he’ll only be fighting other fighters...what’s the big fucking deal? The NHL loves fighting. Fighting sells tickets, gets on YouTube, ESPN (Bettman’s dream network!). May I suggest that Sugden may even help sell tickets in other cities were he to travel to them! Ah, got your attention now, don’t I, you greedy fuckers!
Unacceptable. I’m not even that big of a hockey fight guy, but I know when I see something that is not fair. I don’t know why I’m so passionate about this, but it just strikes an absolute chord with me as soon as I heard about it. It’s just such a common sense thing I guess.
You add in the cancer angle of this story, and it is an absolutely shameful disgrace that anyone would ever possibly feel the need to block Brandon Sugden from going to training camp. If absolutely nothing else, for the sake of another human being, just let the kid’s dad finally see him make the big league! That’s all I’m asking. Jesus Fucking Christ.
Lemme tell you something about hockey dads and moms. They are the salt of the earth, I sound like Don Cherry, but seriously. Well, not the ones that go nuts in the stands and fight other parents...those ones suck. But I'm talking about the good ones. The ones you don't hear about. These people sacrifice, they work hard, they forfeit about $200k over the course of your development, all for the potential and minute chance of the dream to see your spoiled ass make the NHL. Show them some bloody respect!
Those three teams know who they are, and I bet the managers or whoever it is in charge making this wrong choice, once played hockey when they were a kid. Even if they didn't play, they sure as hell have watched games growing up, and now they watch games for a living! So they know what it's like to dream the dream, and think someday I can do it too.
It is up to them, and only them, to change their minds and do the right thing. The NHLPA can’t fight the battle, Sugden isn’t a member...yet. Best of luck man, and a lesson to all us, especially Mats Sundin: Don’t sign anything that says ‘retirement’ on it!
Go here for more on this story.