Lord Stanley

Well this weekend was interesting.

I didn’t have a ton of computer time, so I wasn’t able to write my daily opus. I am not going to miss writing every weekend though. This being a “long” weekend made it a little differet. I used quotations around the word long because it was a very eird long weekend. Canada Day falls on the Tuesday, so a lot of people had the weekend off, only to come back to work Monday and have the Tuesday off. Now my memory isn’t perfect but I don’t really remember that happening too often. Not a very fun scenario for those people who had to work Monday.

It was interesting for another reason as well. I am currently living in a small, rural Ontario town. This weekend marked the first time that a resident of this town has been a part of a Stanley Cup winning team. Aaron Downey brought the Stanley Cup to Shelburne, ON.
Since it is a small town, the news spread like wildfire. There was a parade and a very large party. There were thousands of people on hand to celebrate, meet with Downey, and see The Stanley Cup.

Since I have been in the personal development business, I look at things a little differently. Of course, I took time to celebrate and have a good time, but I also thought a lot. I thought about what Downey’s journey must have been like.

Downey wasn’t a great prospect, he wasn’t a first rounder. He played his junior hockey for the Guelph Storm. He wasn’t one of those few fortunate players, who jump from the juniors to the NHL. He had a very circuitous route to the NHL.

He played in the NSMHL, the ECHL and the AHL for 8 years before he played his first NHL game. He played one game for the Boston Bruins and then was sent back to the minors. I wonder how he felt, I wonder how many times over those 8 years did he think of just packing it up and heading home to work on his parents VERY successful farm.

Obviously, he was passionate about hockey. He had the drive and determination to make it. After a couple more years of bouncing back and forth from the NHL to the minors, Downey became a regular in the NHL. He wasn’t a guy that got a lot of points or a lot of minutes, but from 2002 on, he was an “NHL’er”.

As the 2006-2007 hockey season wound down, Aaron who was on the Montreal Canadians at this time was faced with another block in the road. He was getting up in age by hockey standards and Montreal didn’t feel they had a need for him, so they basically just let him go.
It would have been easy for Downey to walk away from the game. He suffered a brutal hit that season that had him miss a couple games. The need for hockey “enforcers” is up for debate and he was over 30 years old. Not very old at all, but it can be a tough age for a journeyman NHL’er to start all over again.

He still had a passion for hockey though; he still had a passion for hockey’s ultimate goal as well, The Stanley Cup. He called up the coach of the Detroit Redwings and got himself another shot at training camp. He signed with the Redwings and added a rough and tough edge to a team that no one thought was tough enough. Although, he could have easily retired, he came back and finally, after all these years; he was able to hoist the Stanley Cup. The first person in a hockey mad small town to do so. Goal achieved.

Aaron Downey definitely had a lot of reasons to give up. Not only that, but he had the means to leave the game behind. But he dreamt of holding the Stanley Cup as a kid, and that goal was still vivid in his mind. All the years of sacrifice and persistence paid off. Aaron Downy now has his name inscribed on the ultimate trophy of his passion.

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