Thursday, June 09, 2011
Thoughts on the Nathan Horton Hit

By Jeff Copetas, VP of Marketing/E-Commerce

I consider myself pretty darn lucky to be working at a hockey company. As a lifelong hockey player and on skates since the age of four, I could have never really predicted I'd be working for a growing, successful hockey equipment retailer as a CAREER! I will admit, it's a good gig. I've also been lucky because this is the first year I decided to get season tickets for the Bruins. Oh, I can't afford to be there every single game and I most definitely don't have time to, so I split them with some friends, family and surfers of Craigslist. But for these playoffs, I've been to every game with the exception of Game 2 of the first round. Regardless of how these Cup Finals end, it's been one of the best playoff rides I've ever witnessed and being able to be THERE for it has been a thrill. But I don't take it for granted.

I'm just getting around now to fully comprehending the Aaron Rome hit on Nathan Horton a few nights ago. We can go back-and-forth for a good long time on the actual hit, but I do truly believe it was a legitimate hockey hit. Right when it happened, I remember thinking to myself that it wasn't a Rule 48 hit (apparently the NHL agreed) but it was nasty and it was clearly late. Was it dirty? That's a purely subjective issue. To hear the players who know Rome talk about him, he's not *that type* player. Even players from the Bruins who know him supported that notion, so you have to give him the benefit of the doubt that the result of the hit wasn't his intention.

Look, I've played a lot of hockey. I understand that sometimes you have literally a split second to decide what to do. In this case, Rome's decision was simply the wrong one. Horribly wrong. He deserved to be suspended, without question. Four games? Again, subjective. My thinking is that the NHL saw a golden opportunity on its largest, gleaming silver stage to correct its spotty history of discipline and by golly, they did it and they were very public about it. To me, they have clearly made an example out of Rome, who is for all intents and purposes a journeyman, 5 or 6 defenseman. One has to ask - if it was Horton who put the hit on Rome, would the suspension have been four games? Think about it.

But all that is not the point. You can go north-south on these issues until the cows come home. The issue is that when it happened, I saw a 26 year kid splayed out on the ice, not really moving. What really got me was the arm, sticking straight up in the air like a dime-store mannequin who just got tossed in the dumpster. I had access to a TV, so my eyes immediately darted to it for the coverage and the replays. That wasn't any better - Horton's eyes were on the space shuttle. His breathing....crazy weird. Suddenly I wasn't hungry or thirsty anymore and my stomach literally turned. A 26 year old kid with eight paramedics working pretty feverishly around him. My mind started racing. Is he paralyzed? Stiffened limbs is a sign. Is he going to die? He's 26 for goodness sake!

As you might imagine, the building subdued itself pretty quick after the incident and it took a while (ahem, a few goals) for the crowd to really get back into it. All well and good. But years from now when I look back on this playoff run and this particular game, I will remember the feeling of fright and sympathy. I will remember the arm sticking up. The eyes. But I probably won't remember who scored in the game. Though that Marchand goal was pretty awesome.....(see bottom)

So it all comes back to appreciating what you have. If there's anything that came out of that game for me, it's never taking for granted that I can physically walk into an arena and watch a hockey  game. Or show up for work every day, think, use my brain and function. I mean, what else is there? Great to see Horton is going to be ok.


1 Comments Posted at 12:00AM on 06/09/2011

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well said...go B's!
June 09, 2011 8:55 PM