Editor's note: Like you, NBC Sports Bay Area insiders, reporters and analysts are feeling the sports void during the coronavirus stoppage. They'll share their thoughts every Monday, Wednesday and Friday in "What I Miss About Sports." Next up in the series: Sharks analyst Scott Hannan.
I have a confession to make. I miss hockey. I don't say this just as a retired hockey player looking back at my career, I say this as a fan of the sport. From growing up a Vancouver Canucks fan idolizing the likes of Doug Lidster and Jyrki Lumme. To watching Pavel Bure streak down the ice to score another goal.
As a player and getting paid to do what I loved, I have so much to be grateful for. I was able to travel and meet people from all over the world, creating lasting friendships along the way. I met my wife and started a family while playing hockey. I've called many places home. All of these, and much more, happened with one constant: hockey.
To be sure, my perspective as a player was different than as a fan. When I was younger, I'm not sure I recognized just how fortunate I was. I guess I thought things would last forever. We are all guilty of taking things for granted from time to time and, I must admit, I think I took hockey for granted at times. It wasn't until the end that I realized just how much I loved the game and how much I would miss playing. Life happens faster than you think.
Since retiring from professional hockey, I've been able to sink into the role of being a fan once again. Going to games, watching them on TV, using hockey as an excuse to hang out with friends, and phone calls with buddies trying to guess what's going to happen around the NHL trade deadline.
And then there was Game 7 against the Vegas Golden Knights last year. The excitement that was building that erupted into madness that included every Sharks player on the ice and every Sharks fan in the Tank. I was one of those fans. I was part of the joy and the mania that erupted when Barclay Goodrow scored "The Goal" to seal the Sharks' first-round victory and epic comeback.
It was a new perspective going from a fan to a player and back to a fan again. That joy. That comradery amongst fans. I am humbled that I, in some fashion was able to bring joy to fans during my time playing.
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And now there are no sports. There is no hockey. Hockey is not happening somewhere, anywhere. It feels, in a way, like a second retirement. A similar sense of loss. As the saying goes, "You don't realize what you have until it's gone."
The absence of hockey will one day, come to an end. I will step back on the ice and be able to coach my kids. We will be able to watch Sharks games, both live and on TV, feel the excitement again. At some point in the not-too-distant future, this difficult time will pass. In the meantime, I'll get to spend quality time with my family at home. Help my kids improve their skills in the backyard. And I'll remember that even these little things cannot be taken for granted.
Until the puck drops.
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