Tough Guys and Tough Heartbreaks: When Feelings Get a Concussion

Miah D.Senior Writer IMarch 3, 2009

In less than 24 hours, some NHL players will have to say goodbye to the city they have learned to call home, and join a new community. Forced to build chemistry with people they used to compete with. 

So it goes. 

In less than 24 hours, we will have to watch those we used to support leave, watch them make others happy; watch them being happy with others. 

So it goes. 

Perhaps the millions of dollars that accompany their luggage as they make their way to commercial airplanes, heading to their new office, will make all the pain and the heartbreak of departures worth it. Perhaps. 

Perhaps the adrenaline of starting something new, another opportunity to do it all again, have a second chance, will disguise the disappointment felt from not being helpful enough to make a difference. Perhaps. 

But at the end of the day, when all the lights are off, when those familiar walls are the only things left; almost all of them will hold the same speech: so it goes. 

That is the business of hockey. They work for a boss; the organization, the team, and the fan base.   

It is a job by which you are worshiped by millions of fans. Where you can procure your and your family financial security, and where you wake up every morning to go “play a game."

But just like in a fairytale, when the Prince has to fight the dragon to find his Princess, every story has its dark side. For every piece of gold, there is a price to pay. 

wayne gretzky 

Even the greatest of them had to go through the same obstacles, not without pain, not without sorrow; which holds an even scarier truth: nobody is safe. 

So it goes. 

These are people who have been trained to take hits two or three times a night. To come back to work after being hit by a 6 ounce piece of vulcanized rubber right on the face. To wear skates again after life threatening injuries. To know by heart and the hard way the meaning of the words “get over it."

But as the time comes that goodbyes have to be said, when the “is” becomes “was,” tears fall, pain takes over and for a moment, the uniform fades away letting their weak side appear. 

ryan smyth

So in less than 24 hours, part of their life will come to an end. The things that they learned to love, the fans that they used to thank, the teammates that they used to protect, will be replaced by new ones. More fun, less fun, but new nevertheless.

But as the old cliché keeps renewing itself over and over again, one trade after the other, it is after all "a new start, a second shot." What else could it be? 


Picture: Steve Begin, traded by the Montreal Canadiens to the Dallas Stars; talking about the transition and thanking the Canadiens fans. (

Miah is one of the three Community leaders of the Montreal Canadiens. She also co-hosts, along with Matt Eichel, Habs All Out Radio: all about the Montreal Canadiens!