Like so many people, I watched the Chicago Blackhawks win the Stanley Cup. They weren’t my Canadiens but it’s always special to see an Original Six team win the trophy. At the end, when the Cup finally arrived through the issues that Chicago was experiencing, it was great to see its reception and to reflect back on the game and the actions of the players. There are a couple of great lessons there that shouldn’t be lost on students.
Hockey is a tough game. It amazing how hard checks into the boards and glass can be. Sometimes, it even knocks one’s helmet off! While there is considerable “give” in the boards compared to the arena where I used to play, the checks are still punishing.
One of the things that makes hockey so unique is the demonstration of sportsmanship that you see at the end of the game. It tries to be replicated in minor sports where kids line up with their hands out and run the line “good game, good game, good game, good game, …” without meaning a word. At the end of the Stanley Cup Finals, you see the best in sportsmanship with true handshakes and hugs being shared by all players and coaches. There are real authentic moments where heartfelt thoughts and exchanges are made. Both teams make the exchange. What’s even more impressive is that the losing team typically waits 5-10 minutes before this while the winning team celebrates. Does that happen in any other sport? Not a chance. At the end of the game, the losing team is out of there. I know that, in other sports, there’s nothing that stops fans from stepping onto the court/field and joining in. In hockey, because it’s on ice with boards, you don’t see that. It makes for a great moment like no other.
A Definite Sense of Team
The other demonstration that you’ll see that is unique is how the Stanley Cup is treated. You know it’s something special when you see the Cup delivered to the ice with the courier in formal dress, wearing white gloves. After the mandatory photo-op / speech by the president of the NHL, the cup is passed to the captain who then raises it and takes it for a skate. That’s pretty standard in any sport (well, not the skating part) but what happens next is unique. The Cup is passed from player to player so that everyone has the opportunity to give it a kiss, hold it high, and go for a little skate. It doesn’t matter if you’re the captain, the winner of the Conn Smythe trophy, or the back up goaltender. It’s so obvious that it’s a team effort, inclusive of everyone.
Where else do you see such exhibitions?
Aren’t there lessons there for everyone?