NHL: Fans Await the End of Hockey's Worst Offseason

Jason HitelmanCorrespondent ISeptember 7, 2011

CHICAGO - MAY 03: Brent Sopel #5 of the Chicago Blackhawks falls to ice while trying to knock the puck away from Pavol Demitra #38 of the Vancouver Canucks in Game Two of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2010 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at United Center on May 3, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. The Blackhawks defeated the Canucks 4-2. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

After we all heard the news of the tragic plane crash that took the lives of 43 people, we collectively uttered, "This is the worst hockey offseason ever. Again."

And so the frequently asked meme "Is it October yet?" has taken on another meaning.

We, the spectators, cannot wait for the end of a summer that has brought us tragedy after tragedy, tear after tear.

Yet every last one could have been prevented.

Whether it be depression, addiction or faulty mechanics, none of these horrible deaths had to happen.

Some of these men (or boys) passed away after playing the game that they loved. Others may have been graced with a natural talent and took advantage of their abilities in a world that loves being entertained.

Yes, they certainly got paid more than the Average Joe. With their inflated salaries, though, came a world of pressure and expectations.

We keep waiting for the NHL season to begin and, sooner or later, like it or not, we will forget about the players, coaches and flight staff who lost their lives this summer.

GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 21:  Wade Belak #3 of the Nashville Predators looks on from the bench during the NHL game against the Phoenix Coyotes at Jobing.com Arena on January 21, 2010 in Glendale, Arizona.   The Coyotes defeated the Predators 4-2.  (Photo by
Christian Petersen/Getty Images


We all feel sadness, but do we mourn as much as the families of these deceased? Of course we don't.

Watching hockey will be a sad reminder to loved ones that are missing their best friend, brother, husband, son or dad.

Whereas we escape in watching the game, they will do the very opposite.

Former teammates will continue playing the game and think that they could have been in the same position as their old friends.

We will crack open cold ones and be thankful that we could watch our favourite teams hit the ice again, putting this most dreadful offseason behind us.

Rather than trying to forget about what has happened, running from the harsh reality that we are not accustomed to experiencing as spectators, perhaps we should remember what happened, as well.

Escaping into the hockey season is fine just as long as you realize that others have nowhere to escape to.

Remember those who have passed on after a livelihood of performance.

Furthermore, respect those who continue to perform.