Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Reality Checks In

Sometimes the real world shows up and kicks reality right smack in the face with a story that is bigger than the Rangers and the prospects. It is actually two stories in one as one side is about a young prospect's career being forced to end and the other about an NHL owner reminding us that there are good guys still in the NHL.

Just as I was getting ready to put together the interview with Swift Current Bronco broadcaster Jon Keen about Dale Weise, the story about what is going on or not going on with Antoine Lafleur and Day 2 of the Ranger Prospect Summer School came this story from NHL.com.

The story reported by Adam Kimelman tells us the story of a truly classy move by the Tampa Bay Lightning and how their new owner Oren Koules used their 7th round pick on David Carle the younger brother of San Jose Shark Matt Carle.

If you do not take the time to read this story then you are missing out on a gesture that deserves some acknowledgment especially during a period when NHL owners are being investigated for wrong doing.

David Carle was a promising defensive prospect who CSB had ranked 60th so it came as a shock to see that Carle had fallen to the 7th round. The first thought went back to the combine where reports said that Carle simply performed poorly during the physical part of the testing.

At the time the first school of thought was how does the kid brother of someone who had been though the combine show up in such bad shape and do such a bad job. Today we found out why and in a way it is good but it is also sad.

It turns out that at the combine that some abnormalities were discovered with Carle's heart and Carle was referred out for further testing and to protect his privacy nothing was said. Carle it turns out went to the Mayo Clinic.

It was there where it was discovered that Carle was suffering from hypertrophic cardiomyopathy which is a thickening of the walls of the heart. It is one of those tragic conditions that in many cases is not discovered until someone has passed away.

Nobody knows for sure if it could have killed Carle if he continued to play hockey but Carle did not take that chance as he sadly ended what was a promising career. Carle let the NHL know that he was not going to be playing hockey any more so no team would use a draft pick on him.

It is ironic how many times the use of the word heart has been used to describe how special a young man is and in this case it was not his desire that let him down but the heart itself. Not going to try to picture what it must have felt like for Carle to have his dream taken from him like it was.

The hardest couple of days for Carle must have been the NHL Entry Draft as all those players who still had that dream that Carle was forced to give up. The dream of getting drafted, of getting to hear his name called out is a special moment that Carle thought was going to be denied him.

Except Oren Koules had an idea of his own, Koules the new owner of the Tampa Bay Lightning knew first hand what it was like to chase the dream of becoming a professional hockey player. Koules played in the WHL and his pro career lasted all of 44 games.

Koules decided to honor David Carle's dream by using his team's seventh round pick on Carle. It is not as if the Lightning who were one of the NHL's worst teams was in a good position to give away a draft pick like they did here.

Koules may have used a seventh round pick on Carle but his selfless act was clearly first class and we are glad to see a good guy entering the NHL as the NHL badly needs more good guys among their owners.

Got to also salute Denver University as well here because they had signed Carle to a hockey scholarship and were within their rights to rescind it since Carle was not going to be able to play hockey for them.

The school announced that they would still honor the scholarship and will offer Carle a role with their men's hockey program. Denver University is known as Pioneers and they are in many ways are they not?

There are a lot of good guys in this story but for this writer there is a reason why this story hits home. When you come from a family that has a long history of heart problems then every once in a while you need a swift kick in the rear to remind you.

Both my father and grandfather passed away from issues with their hearts, my kid brother has been battling his own heart problems and every once in a while I get a little scared that the family "curse" might one day strike me.

I keep telling myself that I will work out more, try to drop a few pounds and eat better but there is always something that gets in the way or an excuse that leads me to postpone it. I only hope that one day before it is too late I will stop with the excuses and simply do it.

If it can strike a David Carle who is the picture of health then who am I kidding that my own bad habits will not come back to haunt me.

Tomorrow we start to catch up as there is a interesting interview with Jon Keen who called the Swift Current Broncos as he helps tell us about Dale Weise, there also be the status of Antoine Fleur and it is hoped a report on Chris Doyle from someone who knows him well.

1 comment:

b4mv01 said...

Its always great to hear a good story like this. What makes it even better is the fact that it is not a story but fact. Absolutly amazing. I have always held TB higher than most teams but they are much higher than most all now.