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Marchand4My thoughts are drawn to ice hockey, especially at this time of NHL playoffs &, of course, my rooting for the local team Boston. If you can guess my lead in (“Little Ball of Hate”) to this blog post then you are intuitive, and also probably in a lot of trouble for thinking like me.

 

During my years at Padua I always wished I could skate and enjoy the ice pond on the athletic field. Weak ankles prevented me from ever enjoying the sport of ice skating. So many of my classmates used to skate, I felt that fate played a wicked game with casting me with ankles not strong enough for this winter sport. I often would walk up to the skating rink in winter to watch. The skaters seemed to have more fun than in intramurals or varsity sports. Years after leaving Padua I came to realize that for me the most fun was in make-up games in sports. Sad to say, I wish I never had played any organized sports. It was not in my blood. A dear classmate of mine in my sophomore year told me this in so many words when he said I did not have the “killer instinct.” I did not; I had the fun instinct. I only came to this realization as I matured.

 

But getting back to skating…Despite my lack of so-called killer instinct, I enjoy athletes who compete with drive and determination. On my Bruins Hockey team the person that so personifies this for me is Brad Marchand. Depending on what side of the fan fence you sit on, you either hate this guy or love him. I, naturally, love him.  Right now he is making life miserable for Pittsburgh Penguin fans.  I am posting a clip of the second game  of the Eastern Conference Finals, which features a typical style of competition that Brad exemplifies, i.e., in-your-face and non-stop-competition…every thing a fan wants. Anyway, you can see that Brad Marchand is at the (Marchand Goal) bottom of the screen mixing it up with a Penguin, but he is also aware of the developing play on the opposite side of the ice. He turns, quickly races to become a part of the play and then finishes it off with a goal. How could you not like the play of this guy? (Note: Clicking on the “Marchand Goal” link will play a short clip, but you must give it time to load. The server is slow.)

 
 
 

comments

June 10, 2013

 

I utterly enjoyed your account of Padua Pond Hockey, Tony. Vicariously I am with you on the fun part, even though I never put one a pair of skates while at the Prep. It sounds like you wringed all that you could out of the game. Hoochie Mama! Teeth, too?!

I focused on the fact of you mentioning a few friars who also participated in this Hockey a la Padua, namely, Frs. Bertrand, Eric and Henry. From my experience of the good friars while in the Order, I found that many of them were quite good athletes, even though I would not have guessed that while a Paduan student. I got a glimpse of this while still at Padua when I played Fr. Brendan in a game of ping pong. I was not that bad of a player, but he essentially whipped my derriere when I payed him. That was the beginning of becoming aware of all was not the way it appeared. Thanks for the memories!

 

comments

June 7, 2013

 

A note to the Bursar stating “Brother Marius please pick me up a hockey stick”.
After a dollar was deducted from your account with stick delivered, you’d lace up a pair of skates and you were ready to go to play pond hockey Padua style. Instead of the usual 5 skaters and a goalie. It was all that showed up to play including Friars Henry, Bertrand and Eric. No protective equipment in a game of puck keep away. Have control of the puck and try to hold unto it as a half dozen opposing players try to strip you of the puck. If you were successful and made it to the fabricated Bro Tim undersized iron nets a free for all resulted in trying to poke the puck past the defender. There were so many playing that after 20 minutes there would be so much snow on the ice and that became an obstacle as far as passing the puck to a teammate. The fix: a brief break with Bro Tim’s fabricated Zamboni. An over sized shovel device to push off the snow. At the end of the day Bro Tim would sweep the ice and flood the surface for a fresh sheet of ice for the next match.

Padua pond hockey was nothing like how the game of hockey is actually played. However it did plant the seed of hockey fever into me. The year after leaving Padua I continued playing hockey from the pond to the ice rink and organized hockey over the next 30 years. Competing on a lower college level and various levels in men’s leagues from checking to non-checking leagues. The highest level I competed in was against highly skilled players a few were former retired pro’s. One of my teammates at that time had played Quebec junior league and was a teammate of NY Islanders fame Mike Bossy. My friend did not have the skills to play NHL level but he also had football skills and played as a defensive back in the Canadian football league for the Hamilton Tiger Cats. He retired from football at the age of 26. I asked him why ? He said it stopped being fun. My thoughts were “I love this game of hockey” and it will never stop being fun for me. Well after 30 years, two broken noses, a separated shoulder, about a dozen stitches, a lost tooth and other multiple nagging injuries it stopped being fun. The younger players were not only getting better but smarter and it was time to hang up the skates. Watching my family grow, the Padua days and hockey are some of the unforgettable memories I would not trade for anything.

Chad mentioned Brad Marchand a player opposing teams “love to hate.
Some of the more notable past players such as Sean Avery, Ty Domi and Matthew Barnaby were players that were highly successful in getting “under your skin” and get you distracted and take you off your game. Players in a Brad Marchand mold not only are a distraction but take it one step better. They take it up a notch and will also hurt you with their high skill level along with their timely scoring ability. A player that any team would love to have.

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