April 09, 2007

Denial of Death: "You're sure they'll do something before they stand for the national anthem. But with the fans on their feet the announcer reads from a script over the public address system: Twenty years ago today four players lost their lives please stand and honor these players with a moment of silence.

" The players look down at their skates, the others at their boots. A hush falls over the arena, the only sound the wooden roof creaking. Finally, after 30 seconds, the announcer says: Thank you. Please remain standing for the playing of O Canada.

"And that's it, a moment of silence and nothing more. If you'd never been in Western Canada's Swift Current before, if you didn't know the back story, you might mistake it for tasteful understatement. But if you put your ear to the door, you'd know this is the minimum interruption in a culture of denial in a town where the only thing tougher than looking through a scrapbook might be looking in a mirror."

posted by Amateur to hockey at 07:38 PM - 10 comments

Wow. Very well written article. Very sobering.

posted by apoch at 08:58 PM on April 09, 2007

What a sad thing, very well-written nonetheless.

posted by Posada20 at 10:08 PM on April 09, 2007

Although i have heard the story before, it still makes my eyes well up. This was a eloquently written tale that should not be forgotten. Its interesting how big time guys in the NHL are linked to this tragedy...sakic and lindy ruff.

posted by NYRBeeker16 at 10:17 PM on April 09, 2007

Thanks for posting this, Amateur. I remember hearing a bit about the accident when Sakic was playing for the Canadian National Team during their run to the Gold in '04, but I have no recollection of the circumstances involved with the whole story. I did a little bit of checking up on Wikipedia, just to see if there was anything not included in the story. For those that don't know, apparently Graham James has fled to Europe, where he continues, cringe-inducingly, to coach youth hockey. Sheldon Kennedy, meanwhile, has made a bit of a career working with the Canadian Red Cross on child-abuse prevention programs. You can find his website here.

posted by Ufez Jones at 01:11 AM on April 10, 2007

Thanks for posting this, I was unaware of the whole tragedy.

posted by squealy at 03:38 AM on April 10, 2007

Great post, Amateur. I've heard about the accident, but never in this much detail. Thanks.

posted by wingnut4life at 05:04 AM on April 10, 2007

I knew about the Graham James case, but not the bus accident. For those two things to happen to the same team over a course of years, much less simultaneously, had to have been absolutely crushing. Probably the most depressing thing I'll read all day, but thanks, Amateur. Well worth the read.

posted by The_Black_Hand at 06:34 AM on April 10, 2007

Thanks for the story amateur... Very powerful.

posted by firecop at 08:45 AM on April 10, 2007

Thanks, Amateur.

posted by DrJohnEvans at 10:53 AM on April 10, 2007

I had never heard all of the story, just the Sheldon Kennedy part. To have abuse piled on top of tragedy is almost unbearable. The feelings of great anger I had for Graham James at the time the Sheldon Kennedy story first surfaced have been rekindled, but now they burn more fiercely. Reading a story like this, and having the feelings reappear is never pleasant, but it is certainly necessary. It serves as a way of reminding us that we cannot isolate ourselves from the uglier side of the things we enjoy so much. Thanks, Amateur.

posted by Howard_T at 10:58 AM on April 10, 2007

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