Hockey Summer Camp 2017
And so it happened. Patrick Marleau wore out not his welcome but those few carpets in his home in San Jose. He has jumped the Shark. He’d been spectacular shark trade bait for a few years now for any hockey team that could appreciate him. Mike Babcock certainly does.
I now have a rather large shark hole to fill in my writing and personal lives. For over a decade, I was a more-than-average devoted and enthusiastic, aesthetic and active sports fan, watching Patrick Marleau and his Sharks as he displayed, with quiet flair, playing that came naturally to him. To sum it all up, or Recap:
His Breakaway; the ease with which he moved across the ice; the quick stick; the gentlemanly manner with which he scored; the attentive eyes around the net for a rebound; the almost-reflexive face-off conquest; the most beautiful hockey skating I ever saw on ice (with the grace, speed, strength, and beauty of an Olympic figure skater); the short-handed goals (Poetry in Motion); the shy demeanor of being a superstar; the loyalty to a team that will surely miss him; the charmingly comical camaraderie with his teammates;
the face that launched a thousand hockey-puck-hearthrobs; the disciplined and debonair way of telling the On-Ice Interviewer the details of what the team has to do to play better and win; the focused stare into space between plays that told me he knew he had to do better; the game-winning goals (yet another Franchise Record) that made it all Marleau Time; the belief They could win —
All of those tangibles and intangibles now go to the Maple Leafs. And I’d really thought it was Maple Leaves. Patty has corrected my spelling!
I also have a bit of a quandary, but I suspect I am not alone in it. Do I root for the Leafs? Mike Babcock is one of the best hockey coaches I have ever watched, and even without the red hair, he is still in his prime.
I think Marleau is still in his prime too, irrespective of what a certain disrespectful former teammate has said. But we all know jealousy can attack men too! 500+ goals is nothing to sneeze at! The other statistics also speak for themselves and for Patrick Marleau, Mr. Shark.
He is now Mr. Leaf. And so, I go to the NHL shop to buy the new Patrick Marleau tee-shirt. I look good in blue. I think he will too. There is only the plus side to look upon for the Maple Leafs and the Sharks will never be the same again.
Let’s say it here and now: an era has ended. We all hoped it would end with the retirement of Marleau with the San Jose Sharks. But he has a new mission. And I have the NHL Center Ice to watch. For the first time.
No tears, all smiles: I am growing too!
Some good things must end, but this change is good for all concerned; and it is not an ending for Patrick Marleau. Whatever number Mr. Marleau wears is not the goal, because for Patty, the scoring does not end. It will brilliantly continue. Or as Randy Hahn loves to shout: SCORRRRRE! Marleau will be setting new records for his home country, the land where ice hockey was born. Lord Stanley smiles down on this bold move by Marleau to Canadian ice!
All of the best wishes to Mr. Marleau, Mrs. Marleau, their four sons, those two black cats, and their fans in Toronto. Canada’s re-gain is California’s loss. We were lucky to have had the chance to enjoy such a premier player for almost 20 years. It was a once in a lifetime chance.
And this fall, Mr. Chance will have a few Maple Leafs, along with the Sharks, to watch from his perch on the leather sofa. It was, after all, that big stuffed shark that brought my lucky charm, Chance Beaumont, home to me. Late last September while I was carrying the great white to the cash register, he whispered to me: “You need to get a puppy.”
I’ve a feeling Chance is going to be very lucky for the Maple Leafs and for the Sharks! May the better team win! And in Canada, Drew Remenda is all smiles!