I LOVE HOCKEY.
I freely admit it.
I love everything about the game: the speed, the grace, even the violence.
And after reading an article posted by Jodie over at “The Sidney Crosby Show”,
http://sidcrosby.blogspot.com/2008/06/oren-koules-is-awesome.html , I have another reason to love hockey, or at least, one NHL Team owner.
The article talked about a young hockey player named David Carle, who was projected to be drafted as high as the second round. And why wouldn’t he? By all accounts, the 18 year old was a terrific player, a talented defenseman headed to the University of Denver on a hockey scholarship. And I’m sure he set out for the NHL Combine with high hopes of passing every physical and intellectual test.
I don’t know if you’ve seen what goes on at an NHL Combine. I’ve seen video and it looks brutal. Players with their feet taped to the pedals of a stationary bike, being loudly urged to ride as hard and fast as they can. I’ve seen some kids throw up after this “exercise”. There are also other grueling looking “exercises” that I’m sure are meant to test endurance and mettle, including one where a guy does goes all out-- while breathing into a tube with his nose pinched shut while some drill-sergeant type guy yells at him to go faster. Like I said, brutal.
But I digress.
David went to the Combine. I don’t know how many exercises he went through, or whether he went through any at all. What I do know is an EKG uncovered a heart defect that had not been found in previous exams. More extensive tests at the Mayo Clinic revealed that the defect could cause a sudden, fatal cardiac arrest if his heart endures too much stress.
How this boy survived playing hockey for so many years with this defect boggles my mind.
But what happened next will stay with me forever.
His advisor notified all 30 NHL teams that David was taking his name out of the draft, since he can no longer play hockey. 29 team owners took it in stride, but one did something amazing.
Oren Koules, the new owner of the Tampa Bay Lightning, used his last pick to draft David Carle. When asked why he did it, here’s what he said: "The kid worked his whole life to be drafted in the NHL, and I didn't see a reason he shouldn't be."
David Carle will go down in the books as the 203rd pick of the 2008 NHL Draft, because one team owner decided to forego adding to the fold, to make a young man’s lifelong dream come true.
So… the teen whose heart problem forced him to give up his dreams of NHL glory, got to live just a little piece of that dream, thanks to a man whose heart was bigger than his business sense.
This could be the end of David’s story.
As they say in those annoying TV commercials, “BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!”
Remember the hockey scholarship to the University of Denver?
The school will honor that scholarship. David will get a college education, and the coach says he will be involved with the hockey program in some way. It might be small comfort to someone who has lived and breathed the game since he could walk, but somehow, I think he will be okay.
Want to read the article for yourself?
Here’s the link: http://www.adn.com/sports/story/443351.html
And after you’ve read it, ask yourself: What can I give from my heart today?
The answer may just surprise you.