ORLANDO, FL – With Thanksgiving in the air, it’s time that we sit down and think about what we’re thankful for. I am  appreciative of many things – my family, my friends, and my health – but hockey has also become an important, enriching influence in my life. It has taught me important lessons, opened up new experiences, and allowed me to gain knowledge on topics that pique my interest. What follows are some reflections about how hockey has touched my soul.

  1. It has taught me that everyone deserves a second chance.

In hockey, infractions can be costly and get you removed from the ice… but usually that is only temporary. You are put in the penalty box to think about the error of your ways, and your team must weather the storm for your foul. But then, like a phoenix rising from the ashes, you get to enter back into the game. Hockey has made me thankful for the second chances I’ve been given, and it has encouraged me to be more forgiving of others.

  1. It has taught me to always bounce back.

In hockey, losses are hard to take, but tomorrow is a new day. You find that persistence and resilience pay off. It is important to learn from your mistakes, dust yourself off, and move forward. This is why, in my studies at school, I have been able to be optimistic whenever I don’t do so well and try different approaches until I find one that works. Once I have found that method, I return to the fray, fight for the good grade, and keep the faith.

  1. It is the best sport in the world.

Let’s face it – there’s no other sport like hockey. Nothing – not even football or basketball – can compete with the speed and fast-paced style of this sport where players exit and enter the ice on the fly, and where the puck and the players are kept in play by boards and glass. I am thankful that hockey offers such an action-packed, entertaining time. For most of my childhood, I wasn’t interested in sports at all. It was around 2013, when I was 14, that I got into hockey. It was watching the Orlando Solar Bears live at the Amway Center that hooked me. Ever since then, I have become passionate about the game, and it has become a cherished part of my life.

  1. Goal horns!!!    

Goals are hard to come by, but when the puck finally hits the back of the net, the sport rewards the achievement with a suitably earthshaking sound. This tradition started with the Chicago Blackhawks in the early 1980s, and ever since then, nearly every hockey team in existence has its own goal horn. I am thankful for this because of my interest in crafting noise, and I’m planning to study audio engineering in college. How deep is my passion for goal horns? I can identify the make, model, and pitch of goal horns by ear, and tell you what team(s) use the horn.

  1. It provides a model of family that transcends boundaries.

Hockey players come from many different places in the world – from Canada, to Russia, to Moscow, to the United States. A typical professional hockey team has a mix of players who come from separate backgrounds and experiences. But when the players put on the same uniform, those differences fade, and they become a bonded family committed to the same cause.

  1. It brings communities together.

Hockey players are known for their commitment both on and off the ice. Their commitment on the ice is to play hard and try to win, and their commitment off the ice is to give back to the communities they are in. The Orlando Solar Bears franchise has been generously giving back to the Orlando community since its founding in 2012. For nearly 5 years, the team has raised well over a million dollars for local groups and organizations. This year, the importance of giving back to others was especially important for my hometown of Orlando. The Solar Bears, along with the Orlando Magic, the Orlando City Lions, and Orlando City Pride teamed up to support the city after the tragic events that happened at Pulse nightclub. Together, they supported Orlando United to assist in healing the city, and they showed how sports can bring us together and move us forward to a better future.

To my readers, I am very thankful for you as you have supported me on my new journey with The Sin Bin. I wish all of you a Happy Thanksgiving. Be thankful for what you have in your life, and enjoy your time spent with family and friends. Please remember that you are important, and use the opportunity this weekend to let others know that they are special to you.


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