There is a lot of talk these days about the state of our national game.
Much of it negative.
The NHL has had a couple of concussion-plagued seasons. And the first round
of the Stanley Cup playoffs has seen a string of nasty, violent incidents that
has many fans shaking their heads in disgust.
So leave it to a bunch of kids to remind us why we love this game.
The Halifax Mooseheads playoff series with the Quebec Remparts was
everything that hockey should be. Young men, playing their hearts out, refusing
to give up, refusing to admit defeat, and in the end proving that sometimes
-- just sometimes -- if we work hard enough we can succeed.
By now, you know the story. The Mooseheads lost the first three games, then
clawed their way back to tie the series. That set up last night's epic game in
Playing in front of more than 11,000 hostile fans, and facing legendary
coach Patrick Roy (who as an NHL player was renowned for his playoff heroics),
these kids could have easily folded.
And they are just kids. Even by major junior hockey standards, the
Mooseheads are a young team. Goalie Zachary Fucale, and forwards Ryan Falkenham
and Nathan MacKinnon, are just 16 years old. Talented rookie Jonathan Drouin
turned 17 last month.
But Tuesday night it was the old guys' turn to lead. With the Mooseheads
trailing 3-1, Cameron Critchlow, the team's 20 year-old captain, simply refused
to let his season, and his junior career come to an end. Critchlow scored all 4
goals in regulation, including the tieing goal, with just 7:28 left in the 3rd
period.Then 14:48 into the first overtime, Drouin scored and the comeback kids
had done it again.
The headline on the Mooseheads website says it all: "Unbelievable".
The Moosheads are back. There is a buzz and excitement in this city that we
haven't seen in years.
No matter what happens in the next round, the Mooseheads have already done
Halifax proud. They have rekindled our love of the game, and they have given
Haligonians something to cheer about, something this city sorely needs right