Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 10/09/13 at 01:43 PM ET
from John Buccigross of ESPN,
Nine years ago -- June 22, 2004 -- I wrote these sentences after observing Patrick Roy at Ray Bourque's charity golf tournament in leafy New England.
"Even when Patrick Roy is sitting down after a five-hour round of golf under sunny skies, he isn't relaxing. His eyes are always far away and fiery. … He is a serious person. … His competitive gene and his badger-like relentlessness will make him a huge success. When he told me how badly he wanted to win a Memorial Cup (owner and GM of the Quebec Remparts at the time), he practically burned a hole in my forehead. (He would win one two years later after making himself coach of the Remparts.) This man is a single-minded freak. I don't know how much fun he is to live with, but this man is a born leader. … (NBCSN NHL Analyst and former teammate) Keith Jones said how (Roy) was the greatest leader he ever saw. How he said very little, but when he did, it was perfectly timed and made you feel 10 feet tall and bulletproof. … I don't know whether (Roy and Bourque) have been offered a chance to run NHL teams, but if they haven't, it's one of those things on my 'Dude, what is up?' list. … These men are why we love the game. Why we care. Why we spend our hard-earned money playing it and supporting it. Because they care. Because they don't do it for the money. They always played for the prize. Roy still is."
I recall that sunny June day vividly, like I remember most things. It stayed with me as I, and others, waited for Roy to make his move to the NHL in some capacity. From that 2004 afternoon when Nathan MacKinnon was 8 years old, it was clear to me Roy was a man with more to do.
This lifelong fire Patrick Roy carries is a common hockey trait. It is one that keeps this fragile game moving forward. Without people who share Roy's fire, this game would melt away like early-March backyard ice.
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