I would like to start off this version of the Sunday morning homily by thanking the Puckhound for giving me the opportunity to step in and fill his shoes this week. I truly do appreciate that he trusts me enough to allow me to take on this responsibility.
Every time I check into this blog the first words I read (and I read them every time) are the following. "Not-so-random thoughts and chiseled commentary about life, hockey and collecting autographs for the pure fun of it, certainly not for profit, during the 2009-10 season."
Yesterday, while the Puckhound family and the Moody herd were running up and down Old Water Street snagging signatures from the L.A. Kings, I think I finally understood what it meant.
Life, hockey and the fun of collecting. I have been looking at the hounding scene here in the Tampa Bay area a lot more over the past two years and I have noticed there is an evolution taking place. An evolution of all three -- life, hockey and the fun of collecting.
Life: The forming of friendships of a group of guys who would have probably never crossed paths in their extremely different lives that they lead, but all drawn together by the hobby they love.
Hockey: The sport is still growing here in Tampa and the crowds are becoming more diverse with every game I go to. It's hard to have a home ice advantage when Florida is full of visitors. I am seeing each year that more fans are cheering for the "home" team rather than their "hometown" team.
Fun of Collecting: I am seeing that the local hounds are starting to have a lot more fun while chasing down players. Whether we are giving the Goofy Dude a hard time or razzing the Little Miss Moodlet about her new crush on a certain Lightning rookie. There is more camaraderie starting to show with every outing. I am not seeing the competition like there used to be. No more shoving to the front or trying to outdo the next guy. This year, I am seeing it as a hobby again and I am relishing the fact that I can spend a good time with my kids and a few pals doing something we all enjoy and share in common.
The fact that this season is still young and all the Hockey Bay Hounds have been more successful than ever before in snagging signatures may be the reason behind the evolution here. If that is the case, than I can only hope that our success continues and good times grow with each outing.
5 Big Sigs
In keeping with Big Ron's ritual of posting his 5 Big Sigs each week, I will make my attempt. With no team visiting this week, I will toss mine out for Thanksgiving week.
~ Toronto's Jonas "The Monster" Gustavsson on a Swedish photo;
~ Toronto GM Brian Burke on a Stanley Cup photo;
~ New York's Henrik Lundqvist on a Swedish photo;
~ New York's Sean Avery on a Stanley Cup photo; and
~ Any player I have never got on a trading card.