If someone had told me in September I was going to legitimately care if the St. Stephen Aces made it to the playoffs, I would have chuckled to myself and carried about my day.
That’s not to say I haven’t always supported the Aces – I have, in theory – but I can’t say before being thrown into covering the team last fall that I actually cared. Not really.
Well, jump forward to February of 2019 and here you’ll find me, more than caring. Rooting. Hoping. Following. Cheering.
I also didn’t ever consider I would have anything other than a passing and cordial relationship with the coaching staff. My overall predicted tone of our relationship was it would generally be apathetic. I knew nothing substantial about hockey, they’d realize it immediately, we’d have blasé conversations and the season would play itself out.
And yet now I find myself in a position where I would call Bill Rotheisler and Emery Olauson friends, and I look forward to our conversations. Granted, I still know little about the game overall, but enough to almost hold my own, and they know it, and help me along by “Krisi-ing” down the information.
I’ve gotten to know, a bit, some of the players. I will never stop feeling proud when I can identify a player just by how they skate or glancing at their number. I gave Everett Hicks the Quicksilver nickname which seems to have stuck, and rightly so – the kid is amazingly fast on the ice.
My point, if you’ve not guessed it, is I went from assuming apathy to actually being fully engaged by this fantastic team – and even more fantastic asset to this community.
That was the other aspect I never really took on board – the list of pros which can be written up because we have this team in this community. It brings teams and their families to St. Stephen, and to Charlotte County. They eat in our restaurants, and maybe even check out our shopping.
But more importantly, it’s amazing PR for our neck of the woods. The Garcelon Civic Center in and of itself is a jewel in the Charlotte County crown, and we get to showcase it each time teams come from other parts of the Maritimes.
What is does is show what a community can do when they put their minds to it. The team, the rink – it’s all the result of people who put their money and their time where their mouths are and anteed-up.
The number of individuals and local businesses who put time and resources forward is a testament to what the team has achieved. And as they fight for the last playoff spot, I love being there and watching them work for it.
And that would be my challenge, invitation – whatever you want to call it to the community. Come out to the civic centre and cheer this team on. It’s a great way to spend some time, and get out of the house during the horrible month of February.
We are lucky to have this team here, so let’s make sure they know we’re behind them.
If I can care, I guarantee you can too.