As soon as I saw the number, I knew it was bad news.
The commissioner of our Novice house league was on the line with an ominous message.
"Mike," he said, "Unfortunately you're going to have to trade Chris Mosios to the Canucks."
At that moment, I had the same kind of feelings for our commissioner that a lot of hockey fans had for Gary Bettman during the last few NHL lockouts.
Chris, you see, is one of our top players on the Penguins. The Canucks, meanwhile, are at the bottom of the league — 0-9 to start the season. With our team 6-3 and fighting for first place, I had an idea changes were coming, as the league does its best to balance all the squads. Personally, I wish every team in our six-team league could finish 10-10 during the 20-game regular season. That way, everybody would learn how to be a good winner and a good loser.
With that said, however, I absolutely hate to lose Chris and would feel the same about saying goodbye to any of our players.
It's amazing how quickly you develop a bond when you're part of a team. Every player has their own distinct personality and Chris is no different. In addition to being a very talented little guy, he's also a really friendly, happy-go-lucky kid. At one point this season we were really laying a beating on an opposing team and Chris, oblivious to the fact that the other bench was a little down in the dumps, started waving at one of their coaches and screaming "Hi, Derek!" Coach Derek, behind the bench with one of Chris's previous teams, had no choice; he gritted his teeth, smiled weakly and waved back.
Fortunately, the coach of the Canucks is also one of Chris's former coaches and is really excited to have Chris join them. I, of course, wasn't quite as pumped and when I saw Chris for the first time after the trade, I started to choke up and had to walk away for a moment to compose myself. Kids, though, are amazingly resilient. Chris came over, gave me a huge smile and a big hug and laughed when I told him to take it easy on us the first time we play against them.
I wasn't kidding, by the way. In his first two games with the Canucks, Chris has already scored a pile of goals and led his team to back-to-back victories — their first two wins of the season. So, while it was definitely tough to see Chris go, it was great to see the happy grins of the Canucks. Sure, winning isn't everything, especially in house league hockey. But nobody should go 0-9, as kids and parents inevitably begin to get frustrated and discouraged.
Life isn't always easy.
Sometimes you lose and sometimes you have to say goodbye to people you care about. But on the other hand, change can often be a good thing. Hey! The Canucks are finally in the win column and now we're shaking in our skate boots about facing them in a few weeks.
The other upside?
We have a brand new member of the Penguins family, an enthusiastic, hard working young lad named Anthony D'Ambrosio; somebody you'll meet in next week's blog.
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