The hype leading up to CCM/ECHL Hockey Heritage Week has been growing since mid-January. More and more questions have been asked on what to expect and my teammates and I are gearing up for an exciting, hockey-filled week that is promised to be unlike any other.
As a player I received my monthly calendar; as I suspected, it is jam-packed with appearances. The Stanley Cup, Hockey Hall of Fame exhibits and games, a visit to the Mayor’s office and Red Wings VP and General Manager Ken Holland at the Hall of Fame Luncheon. Pretty exciting stuff for a minor-pro hockey player. The excitement and build up for this is amazing! I compare the hype to last year’s outdoor game in Toledo. However, this time, the K-Wings are front and center. I couldn’t be happier to be part of this event.
Personally, I am excited to hear Ken Holland speak at the Hall of Fame luncheon. I’m not entirely sure what is on the ballot for his speech, but I am intrigued to hear what he has to say. There is a lot of knowledge and wisdom on the podium and I’m eager to listen and learn some new things. The guys in the locker room are excited about the jerseys, too! I love the way they follow the theme of “Past, Present, and Future.” The designs are pretty cool; I know I’d still be at the drawing board if I had to design one!
As for playing in the games, not much changes for preparing, even with all of the excitement and buildup. I’ll get a nice meal in before I take my nap, catch a ride to the rink and game on. Business as usual. The glamour and the hype is pushed aside. At the end of the day there are two points up for grabs and we want them. I expect a high paced and intense game between two divisional rivals.
The Stanley Cup will arrive in town today (Monday). It has been 20 years since I’ve seen the most sought-after trophy in sports. I get to spend an hour sitting next to it this week—I’m already expecting to be starry-eyed, that’s for sure. I signed up to be with the Stanley Cup and the first thing I did was look up facts and bloopers about the trophy. My favorite gaffe is the misspelled ‘80-‘81 Cup winning Islanders spelled “Ilanders.” It made me laugh out loud — I couldn’t believe all the misspelled names and teams. Like most hockey players, even the engraver isn’t perfect. Being so close to something that every hockey player aspires to hoist over their head is going to be amazing. Having the knowledge I do now of all the players and all the work that goes into winning such a trophy makes me appreciate my career choice. Having the privilege to have Lord Stanley’s Cup in Kalamazoo makes my teammates and me push harder to achieve our hockey goals to get to the next level of our careers.
Let’s get the celebration started!
Until next time,
Justin Taylor #93