Reality has a very strange way of turning dreams into disappointment. A player can dream all he wants about “making it” within the game, but there’s a world of work that needs to be completed before that dream becomes a reality.
Making it. Every player has a different standard when it comes to that thought. For some, the North American Hockey League will be the peak of their athletic career. Most will move onto college hockey and hit the brakes somewhere along the way.
Then there are the players that call it quits in the middle of the developmental process. They are THIS close to making the jump to the next level only to decide that it takes a little too much effort to get there.
Then there are the whys and excuses.
Here’s the bottom line for every player in this situation. Quit now and regret the decision for the rest of your lives. Talent fades away but the memories last a lifetime.
NORTH AMERICAN HOCKEY LEAGUE
The Central Division leading Bobcats (12-1-0-2) are unbeaten in the last dozen games. The Minnesota Wilderness (12-7-1-0) are just a point behind with five more games played. The reality is that the Wilderness have the fourth best record in the league. Minot (9-4-1-2), Aberdeen (8-3-4-1), and Austin (9-6-1-2) are tied and all fighting for that third and fourth play-off spot.
The New Jersey Titans (15-2-0-0) remain the beast of the East. Winners of ten-straight games, it looks like this group intends on running the table in Rebel-like fashion. With five more games played, the Johnstown Tomahawks (12-6-2-2) are just a few points behind the mighty Titans. The Knights (10-10-1-1), Generals (9-11-1-1), Nordiques (9-9-1-0) and even Black Bears (8-9-2-0) are all in a dogfight for the third and fourth playoff spots. What about the Rebels (6-13-0-2)? Four of their six total wins for the season have come in the last ten games.
Was there every really a question about the Fairbanks Ice Dogs (13-5-0-1) being on top of the Midwest Division. The shocker is that the Brown Bears (11-5-1-2) have a five-point hold on second place after getting a home sweep of Chippewa (10-6-0-0). Winners of four straight and six of the last ten games, Kenai River appears to be locked and loaded. Remember a few weeks back when we said to not get accustomed to seeing Janesville (8-10-1-0)? Winners of three-straight games, the Jets are in a mission to leap-frog the Steel. Even the currently last place Minnesota Magicians (4-8-4-2) are just three-points out of fourth place.
Here’s the real story of what’s going on in the South Division. With Thanksgiving only a few weeks away, we can already outline the playoff picture. Lone Star (14-5-0-1) and Amarillo (12-4-1-1) and Shreveport (13-7-0-0) will be among the top three at the end of the season. Topeka (13-7-1-1) and Corpus Christi (9-8-2-2) will fight it out for the fourth spot. Odessa (6-9-1-1) has the advantage of playing the fewest games in the division and could claw their way back into the picture IF they can muscle out more effort from the group…or trade for it. New Mexico has all three of their wins for the season in the last seven games after the weekend home sweep of Topeka.
Cheers and Jeers? Sorry, other than the butcher shop that fronts as a nail spa, not feeling it this morning. Hey, that’s a good thing!