A Summer Minus Stanley

June’s a month where it’s possible to ride the continued waves of excitement brought on by the NHL playoffs, NHL Awards and of course the NHL Draft. In June, it’s possible to experience occasional moments of the hockey free lifestyle; after all everyone needs a break. It’s a month that begins with the most exciting games in hockey, ends with a new class of players and has a few perfectly scheduled days for hitting up the beach. June is the perfect month for any hockey fan looking to ease into summer.

July is a bit harder to swallow. Sure, the month begins as one big fireworks display. With NHL free agency beginning on July 1st, it’s practically a 24 hour watch, filled with anticipation and excitement. Oh, the possibilities are endless. It’s similar to celebrating Christmas in July, with players being wrapped up and delivered to different teams throughout the league. July 1st not only brings free agency, but Canada Day. Canada Day rolls into the Fourth of July for Americans and before you know it, you’ve killed an entire week celebrating. Celebrations come to an end and you find yourself believing reruns of NHL36 are more exciting than the newest episode of True Blood. Of course, seeing Mike Richards share ice cream with his dog on the beach in Malibu is cute the first 10 times; but eventually it gets depressing. Although NHL Network reruns are a somewhat satisfying substitute for the regular season, nothing beats a live show. Cue development camp, perhaps the best thing about the month of July. The chance to see the future of your favorite franchise take the ice, all while giving you a much needed “live” hockey fix. But a week of development camp skates by faster than Claude Giroux.

August is possibly the worst month for any hockey fan or player. The longest, hottest, never-ending month on the quest for opening night. Nothing good comes from the month of August, except a large heaping dose of the off-season blues. Tack on an extra dose of anxiety with current CBA negotiations and August this off-season is panning out to be the worst in recent history. The daily inner monologue of “will they/won’t they” slowly becomes more fierce than any NHL rivalry and an agreement simply can’t come soon enough. No matter how hard it gets to persevere, August will quickly skate into September and the feelings of angst will turn to excitement as training camp nears its starting point.

September is the month of magic. Of course, the weeks leading up to training camp become an excited jumble of days, ultimately forgotten, but finally the magic day is upon you. The official opening day of training camp, it’s the day where certain members of a team cast a spell and win your heart no matter which level they ultimately begin playing at. The weeks of a hockey-less summer fade away into the faces of both old fan favorites and soon to be new ones. During the playoffs, the seconds on the clock tick down until the final horn, and a cup is hoisted. The final horn of September, begins a fresh clock for October.

And of course, October is the month of promise. By the time October skates onto the calendar, hockey is in full swing; and the emotions and excitement of a new season take center ice. The leaves begin to turn, the memories of summer begin to fade, t-shirts get packed away and the crisp air beckons for a hockey sweater to be worn in their place. October welcomes a new season of opportunities and the promise of the same fight. A battle that spans fall, winter, and spring, to ultimately bring a little summer enjoyment to the fans. Enjoyment that weighs about 35 lbs and gives a perfect excuse to wear sunglasses. Everyone knows that the sun shines brighter when it’s reflected off the cup.

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