One may have to consult with Reverends Albert Baldeo or Tim Schroeder on this, but I’m fairly sure I’m on safe ground when suggesting that God is not a fan of the Montreal Canadiens.
That assumption is solely based on the belief that ‘my’ God is a wise God and a kind God and could not possibly support nefarious sorts and heartbreakers such as the Habs.
Anyone with any real sense of right and wrong clearly understands that God is probably a Boston Bruin or Toronto Maple Leaf fan. (In these current days of new order religion and born-again faiths the modern day thinker may even suggest God is a supporter of the Vancouver Canucks).
I find support in my Bruin//Leaf/ Canuck theory via words of scripture that suggest to best understand or relate to God one must suffer—and Lord knows how many years fans of the three teams above have suffered.
Now, this whole theological debate in my brain has not arisen due to the fact that Vancouver and Boston are at or near the top of the NHL chart and favoured as leaders in the upcoming battle for the Stanley Cup.
Nor is the theory based on the fact that the Habs are hanging around in the potential playoff picture just so they can once again break Boston fans’ hearts.
Nor is it even based on the current (and continuous) pathetic state of the Leafs—once again dragging fans and their hearts through a gauntlet of gut wrenching anguish.
No. It’s all Danny’s fault.
The good son has finally returned home.
Danny Thiessen and I were inseparable as best buddies during our elementary and early high school days. We shared a lot of things in common including an absolute fixation for hockey.
We literally lived for the game and when not spending countless hours on the ice, we were likely hanging out as rink rats at Kelowna Memorial Arena working with the Buckaroos, refereeing, or even coaching tinier kids. If we were not in the rink we were on the road engaged for hours on end playing road hockey. When the weather was too rotten we went inside and played on my table hockey set or watched a game together.
It was a wonderful friendship, except Danny had one major illness—he loved the Montreal Canadiens and Jean Beliveau. He would never shut-up about either of them.
It boggled me then (and still does today I suppose) on how Danny did not see the magic of Bobby Orr or Derek Sanderson. Over the years I tried to heal him, convert him, help him see the light, but Dan would have nothing to do with it.
For many years we shared every day together, occasionally doing other things than hockey. We loved to hike and swim and play music.
However, as life often does, Dan and I started to find other interests. I discovered work, girls, beer and rock n’roll (not necessarily in that order). Danny discovered girls and God. By our mid-teens we had split off in different directions though still close in heart. We both moved away to different parts of the country for different jobs.
Nearly 40 years passed by.
Last week Danny moved back to town and we immediately set up a coffee date. With only an hour in our busy schedules Dan and I laughed and cried over memories, including the day I ate 17 pieces of toast (with peanut butter on them all!).
As we chatted I smiled inside and out at how, in so many ways, nothing has really changed with either of us. We are both (hopefully) a little wiser and a little more aware of the ways of the world.
However, thankfully, inside there are still two little boys full of life and laughter and dreams just looking for a tennis ball and a hockey stick.
I cannot express how thrilled I am that one of the dearest and best people in my life is back in it again. Danny has always had a heart of gold and a gentle, compassionate side that lights up whatever life he touches. His trek has not always been easy but his faith has helped him through it all.
I cannot wait to see Danny yet again to not only share more memories of the past but to start some new ones as well. It will be wonderful—just as long as he doesn’t say one word about Beliveau or those damn Montreal Canadiens.
Charlie Hodge is a freelance writer.