Thursday, July 13, 2023

My Favorite Personal Hockey Story

 As a broadcaster and now podcaster,  I've seen my share of stories happen over the years. People sometimes ask me if I have a favorite story from my experiences that would rank as my favorite of all. I do, and here it is. 

On one very cold and frigid Monday afternoon in February several years ago, I was preparing to head to Boston for the annual Beanpot tournament at the TD Garden. It's an event I never miss. Walking out of my house I started to walk towards my car which was parked on the lawn near our driveway. I don't typically like to park there, I'd rather park in the street- but we had snow and they want you to pull the cars off the street during snow situations. So I'm walking to my car, and I'm walking on a sheet of ice. I took a wrong step on the ice, and I wiped out. I fell, and landed squarely on my hip. I remember my iPad flying out of my hands, sliding across the ice, breaking the protective covering. As I lay on the ground, the pain was excruciating. I thought for sure my hip was broken. I literally had to fend for myself. My phone was with me, but I was determined to get to my feet on my own. Somehow I managed to roll over and collect the items that had left my hands as I fell. I remember my wrist was killing me just as my hip was. My wife was at work so her helping me was not possible. 

It took every ounce of energy and fortitude just to get to my car. It was pure agony as I literally rolled myself over to the car. I was able to somehow unlock it and put my belongings in there. The brutal part was getting myself in the car. Lifting my leg to get situated in the car was a major challenge, to say the least. But I got there. I was sure I had a broken hip. Thank God I didn't land on my head. 

Now I'm faced with a dilemma. Do I go to the emergency room and get checked out and forego the Beanpot, or do I suck it up and try to go in to Boston? Believe me when I tell you, as I'm sitting there racked with pain I thought about what I would do. After about five minutes I came to a decision. I decided to fight through the pain and head to the Beanpot. After all, I'm a hockey guy, right? 

So I decided I'll go to the Beanpot, then go to the ER after that. I knew that moving around would be extremely difficult, so I was determined to be as stationary as possible. Driving to the T station in Braintree was OK, but getting out of the car when there to limp over to get the train was immensely painful. Needless to say, it took me a LONG time to get there. I was able to limp onto the train, and I was on my way. 

Of course, any movement by me was brutally hard. So when I got to Boston, I had to navigate getting out of the subway station and limping into the Garden. That took a long time too. 

I finally made it into the Garden, limping in to get my credential and going up to the 9th floor. The media section. I was set. 

I went down (very slowly) to the media room for dinner in between games and was sitting with my good friend and hockey guy Brion O'Connor. I remember telling him what happened. I said to him, I'm going to try and go this alone, but maybe I'll need your help to stand up. 

I wasn't sure how long I was going to last, and when I was going to leave. The pain had become excruciating- and I was determined to tough it out and leave the minute the second game ended. I remember Northeastern was playing in Game 2. And wouldn't you know it, the second game went into overtime. At the end of the third period I said, " I have to go. I can't take it anymore." So I did what I would never do under normal circumstances- I left a hockey game before it's completion. 

As I hobbled down to the North Station Orange Line train, I had the game on the radio. I'm listening to Rob Rudnick, the Huskies broadcaster, call the overtime, and then subsequently, the game winning goal on the platform waiting for the train to come. I smiled knowing that I had toughed it out. All for the love of hockey. 

I somehow managed to get on the train and get back to Braintree. I hobbled over to my car (and remember it's February, so the cold is not helping the situation).... and after gingerly getting back into my car, I drove straight to the emergency room of Woonsocket Hospital in Rhode Island, near our house. They evaluated me and found no broken bones after an X-ray- which shocked me. It as determined to be a very deep tissue bruise. It looked very purple and very ugly. But they started me on the mend. Crawling into bed at around 1:30 AM and still hurting, I had made it back safely. 

All for the love of hockey. 

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