We’re in the eye of the Hurricanes and, seemingly, don’t know it.
Campbell River’s Rod Brind’Amour has coached his mediocre team to a legitimate shot at the Stanley Cup.
Some will remember it; that silver chalice that graced our community while in the hands of the same Brind’Amour when he captained the same Carolina Hurricanes to the ultimate prize in professional hockey.
At the time the city was abuzz during the playoffs and it grew to a frenzy as the Cane’s pulled it off and our beloved son raised the cup over his head.
Now, on the precipice of history, the Canes’ push for the Holy Grail under Brind’Amour seems to have gone almost unnoticed in Campbell River.
I have been wearing a Canes’ hat since the playoffs began. I have not seen another. Nor have I seen a Canes’ sweater. (Oops, except for Wayne Brownhill who had a Canes’ sweater on and had on a Bruins’ cap on the number 5 tee box at Storey’s. I hope he doublebogied.)
Perhaps it’s because we don’t see him in action. The Rod Brind’Amour who never gave up, who finished checks, who scored goals and, more importantly, who assisted on many more.
Broadcast commentator and former NHL great Dave Poulin said that the reason the Carolina Hurricanes were doing so well is that they had 18 Rod Brind’Amours on the ice. (He was wrong. He forgot the goalie.)
Or perhaps we just have too many Canucks fans around who fell for the Twins’ promise of hockey glory. And now they are just numb with defeat and the prospect that yet another ‘building year’ will result in them not making the playoffs, again. Perhaps they don’t know what playoffs are all about. Like us Canadiens’ fans.
I have known Rod, personally, for about 20 years. Okay, so every year I get to talk to him for about a minute on the 17th tee of Story Creek golf course where he has hosted the annual Cystic Fibrosis charity tournament for enough time to raise over a million dollars to fight the disease.
Every year he remembers my (and most everyone else’s) name, asks how things are going and, if I have questions for him, he will subtly turn his back to the next in line and answer them for me.
I would bet a dime to a dollar that Rod feels more exhausted after a game as coach as he ever did as a player. As a player he carried his teammates with unending energy and perseverance. He could actually change a game with a good shift.
But as coach he has to sit back and watch and hope. Hope that someone can win that faceoff that he would, that someone forechecks tenaciously and creates a turnover, that someone would score, like he did.
The sweat of the player is different than the sweat of the coach. The player dispenses energy, the coach absorbs it.
And so we in Campbell River need to step up our support for Rod.
Mayor Andy Adams, it is time to raise a Hurricane’s flag at city hall. If you do I will finally forgive you for breaking the tip of my fly rod.
(NOTE – I also realize you need the support of council. Between us, I can dig some dirt up on them as well. Like, have you ever seen Charlie Cornfield in a sand trap? His real name should be backhoe. I think I could swing his vote, so to say.)
In essence Rod Brind-Amour was the leader of his team. The members of that team rose through the ranks to the small percentage of players who actually make it to the show. They were themselves leaders.
Now Rod is a leader of leaders.
His parents Bob and Linda should be doubly proud.
So should Campbell River.