The other night I put aside this pessimism as my eyes opened to some truly amazing stories of humanity in sports. If you want to see what is still great about athletes, just attend a local Hall of Fame induction ceremony.
Having been in this sport for 40 years and involved in officiating since the 1980s, I have been to a couple of funerals for guys who didn't make it to games while trying to fight the elements.
It concerns and disgusts me that there are some folks in North America who are taking a perverse pleasure in the fallout and the collapse of the ruble. Part of the beauty of hockey at its best is its ability to transcend borders and politics.
One of the areas where I believe forward-thinking NHL teams could tap into an under-used knowledge base is by considering longtime officials for decision-making roles in their scouting departments and/or front offices. Why not?
Come Monday, the NHL will hand down a suspension to Rinaldo, who apparently opted for phone hearing instead of an in-person hearing. That means a suspension of at least five games is likely. So what? Nothing will change.
Over the years, many aspiring hockey officials have asked me what I think the biggest keys are to being an effective referee or linesman. It is a subject that I have given constant thought to over the years, and I frequently discuss many of the key elements.
For example, in the recent Spengler Cup semifinal game between Team Canada and Geneva, there was a pivotal call made that may -- or may not -- have been correct under the letter of the rule book. However, common sense suggested that no call be made in that instance.
One of the things I look at when I observe officiating teams is how they handle transitions. This is every bit as important to good officiating work as puck support on the forecheck or backcheck is to playing winning hockey on the ice.
If I am half the man and father that Bill Stewart was, I will have been a success in my life. To my dad, being giving and kind wasn't something reserved for just the holiday season. However, the holidays were a perfect time to show even a little extra kindness and compassion.
Today is another tough day for hockey and for myself with the news of the passing of the legendary Jean Beliveau at age 83.
Hockey players are renowned for their ability to play through injuries that would sideline athletes in most other sports. Sometimes discretion really ought to be the better part of valor, but that's rarely been the "hockey way" of doing things.
For American and Francophone officials in the NHL, there is still very much a glass ceiling. There are still subtle limits on the upper mobility even of the (still) relatively few who even get into the officiating rank-and-file.
One of the most frequently voiced claims my critics have thrown at me over the years is that I "thought I was the show" on the ice. That has always stuck in my craw because it was flat out false. People mistook my natural enthusiasm and assertiveness for showboating.
One of the biggest mistakes any official can make is being too hasty to make a call. It can happen to anyone, including a veteran, but this is a learning experience that almost everyone goes through in his or her career: When you make haste, you make mistakes.
Photo/Jeremy Cowart John Ondrasik of Five For Fighting has the unique ability (and sensibility) to move people to tears with his music. His songwrit...
Along with the rest of the hockey world and the countless people whose lives Gordie Howe has touched either directly or indirectly, my thoughts and prayers go out to Mr. Hockey and the entire First Family of Hockey after Gordie suffered a serious stroke on Sunday morning.