It’s the only flame I know that can rest on ice. The only burning passion that can freeze a length of 200 feet and stretch into the deepest corners of a city. It’s the only dance I know where blades are your vehicles, cutting through the sheets of a frozen foundation that holds the dreams and goals of men. It’s warfare disguised as an art form. It’s fought for and played for and no one ever recognizes a difference because there simply is none. It’s a game as much as it is a lifestyle.
It’s a platform designed for the pouring of souls, but they decided to just call it a rink. It’s a sword with which you fight all your greatest and most legendary battles, but we know it as a hockey stick. And it’s the smallest, lightest, cheapest form of engineering and design, that can hold more weight than every pound of human flesh on the ice in those 60 minutes – the one object we continually pray finds its rightful home, whether it be the glove of a man or the nape of a netting. It has the power to claim a winner. It has the power to pave a path. We were taught to call it a puck. And it never begins to dance until the bodies start making music.
It’s the only song I know where beats come from the beatings of bodies against the boards, the sticks against the ice, the pucks against the goalposts – the whistles and horns, goal songs and cheering. It is the only song never sung twice, and never alike, always different in tune, but never in meaning.
There’s always the same fount behind the fever, same drive behind the skating, same dream behind the game. It’s the same one today as it was yesterday. Same one yesterday as it was twenty years ago. It’s a song for the ages and for every age of a man. It’s his song when he’s three and it's his when he’s thirty. It’s a song of the light that guides him down the road, and onto the pond, then into the rink, and at long last, the hands of the big leagues. It’s the song of the heart, the joy and the passion. It’s a song of the silver: the 35 pounds composed of all of the music of the hundreds of thousands of games played before it.
It's a song we cup into our spirits until we can sing to the Cup itself. And when we finally do – when the last of the snow has been sprayed, the back of the net has been sated, and the longing behind the wait finally faded. Those 35 pounds comprised of a lifetime of singing and a lifetime of dreaming finally fall to the hands of an army whose hearts had long shared the same beating.
It's a moment like no other. It's a moment you spend a lifetime taming a passion for. It's the moment you realize is home to your fire. A fire so great, but they decided to just name it hockey. It's the only game I know that can fuel such a fire. The only flame I know to radiate such light. It's the only burning passion that I know can ignite my soul. It's the only flame I know to ignite the soul on ice.