Seems as though there is no such thing as a day or a night away from hockey, even in mid-summer.
Take yesterday, for instance.
I was just about to head to the front deck of the house and think idle thoughts when I heard that forward Gabe Guertler was leaving the Minnesota Golden Gophers of the Big Ten Conference to sign with the Soo Greyhounds of the Ontario Hockey League.
By the time I wrote and posted the Guertler story it was time to leave the house and meet my wife for supper.
A nice, quiet supper in the west end of town with no hockey talk?
Not when a table for four happens to include Kevin Cain, general manager of the Soo Thunderbirds of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League.
Don’t get me wrong. I like talking hockey — and I especially like writing hockey.
It doesn’t matter if it’s the Thunderbirds, the Greyhounds, the Soo Eagles of the North American Hockey League, the Lake Superior State Lakers of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, the Batchewana Attack of the new Canadian International Hockey League — or any of their opponents. Hockey — especially junior hockey — is a passion of mine.
Then there’s Cain, with whom I have a hockey friendship that often falls under the agree-to-disagree category.
As I have a passion for hockey, Cain has an obsession.
I mean, it’s mid-July and I have already spent a few hours of a glorious summer day writing a few hockey stories. Time for a few cold beer and a few slices of thin-crust pizza with cheese and green peppers. Easy on the hockey talk.
But not if Cain happens to make his way to your table.
In a matter of two hours — or the time it took me to drink three large draught and eat most of a medium pizza — Cain went from talking about the Thunderbirds and their prize defenceman Owen Headrick to his thoughts on the Batchewana Attack and the new CIHL to Scott Marshall leaving the Blind River Beavers for the St. Charles Spirit to the OHL’s Kingston Frontenacs and their second-round draft pick Zack Dorval to the Guelph Storm and their fourth-round draft pick Nic Sicoly to the Greyhounds, Eagles, Lakers and local players who would be a good fit for all three teams to an old goalie he recently met who played for the Brantford Alexanders and Windsor Spitfires more than 30 years ago to…
I can hardly wait until September so we can really talk hockey.