Here are all the links from around the hockey world while passing along all the happiness at the great start for the Vegas Golden Knights to start the season.
*Congrats to the Babson College hockey team and 10-year-old Coleman Walsh after Coleman was made an honorary member of the Division III team on Tuesday in an “inspirational draft day” organized by the non-profit Team IMPACT. Coleman has endured a pair of open-heart surgeries after he was born with Williams Syndrome, a developmental disorder that affects numerous parts of the body. Doctors now constantly monitor his cardiac condition.
He also developed a deep love of hockey in those sometimes difficult times and even spends time in the summer watching hockey highlights on YouTube and has memorized all 31 of the goal horns in arenas across the NHL.
“I can’t wait to be involved in the practices and the games,” said Coleman, a fourth-grader who lives in Walpole, Mass., with his parents Nanci and Matt and his older brother Andrew. “I love all the excitement [of hockey] and lots of stuff. I love the hitting and the fast-skating, and I really like the Jumbotron too.”
Coleman’s favorite hockey player is Zdeno Chara (“I like how strong and smart he is”), and he said he faithfully goes to one Bruins game a season with his family.
Now, he’ll be seeing a lot more hockey as the connection with the Babson team means he’ll be spending practice and game time with the young men at least a few times a month. In a cool touch, Anaheim Ducks forward and Wellesley native Chris Wagner made a video for Coleman and his family welcoming them to a Babson team that includes his younger brother, Paul.
“We’re so excited to be able to do this as a family,” said Nanci Walsh. “Things that are important to Coleman are being a part of the community and doing the things that he’s interested in, and it’s not as simple for us as signing him up for something considering his disabilities and health.
“For him to be able to be on a team, see what teammates do for one another and be around these young men that are so giving and generous with their time, it’s really exciting for him and for us. Hockey is his real passion, and it’s the one sport that he thinks about all the time and talks about all the time. It’s the one thing that carries through as a big part of him.”
To hear Team IMPACT Executive Director Seth Rosenzweig tell it, while Coleman becomes a member of the team, his whole family gets drafted by the program and will become part of that unique, bonding that only sports can provide.
“The ultimate goal is for [Coleman] to not only come out of with some good stories but also to develop his goals around confidence, coping mechanisms and the tools that will allow him to have his most successful life possible,” said Rosenzweig. “We also know this will have a huge impact on the family that will all be actively involved in the program and that it will have a big impact on these college athletes around character, integrity, empathy and perspective while also hopefully getting them thinking about philanthropy and civic-mindedness. It’s kind of a win, win, win.
“We’ve had a lot of success with hockey. It’s the right-sized team where everybody that’s on the team can develop a relationship with the family. It’s not too big and not too small. [The hockey players] have that fight and grit in them which is a common characteristic, and I think we’ve found that the hockey teams will go a little above and beyond what’s required in the partnership with the kids.”
According to Rosenzweig, Team IMPACT has almost 1,300 kids like Coleman in the program and more than 500 colleges and universities in 47 states partnering with them. Rosenzweig said the challenge at this point is getting the word out to families with children battling life-threatening or chronic illnesses to let them know that these opportunities with college teams and college athletes are there if the timing is right. For more information about Team Impact, people can go to www.goteamimpact.org if they’d like to get involved.
*Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but Claude Julien is saying the Canadiens are having a hard time putting the puck in the net after another loss to start the season. And the power play is dreadful too. Man, it doesn’t sound good in Montreal right now.
*Elliotte Friedman has his thoughts from around the NHL after the first week, including the future arena hopes for the New York Islanders.
*Here’s a philosophical question for you: Did a hockey team really visit the White House if their team Twitter account basically ignored the whole thing? It was such a weird approach to this whole thing by the Penguins.
*Alex Burrows got a nice hand from the Canucks crowd in his first trip back to Vancouver since becoming a member of the Ottawa Senators. I wonder if he bit anybody in celebration of the big moment.
*The Edmonton Oilers are finding that things are a little difficult this time around after last season’s success.
*For something completely different: Here’s another hilarious episode of “The Camera Guys” with Moose’s beard playing an inspirational role.