Fifteen hours from now, I’ll be driving a car loaded with one smelly hockey bag, two well-worn sticks, two boxes of girl scout cookies, three suitcases, camera bag, case of trophies, box of NJ Devils Youth Hockey club pins, a cowbell, two parents (mine) and one son (also mine). 290 miles from here we’ll pass the Prague Motor Lodge as we enter the town of Lake Placid. Friday morning we start our annual end of season tournament.
I love Lake Placid, possibly because it reminds me of the timelessness one of my other favorite haunts, Princeton University. Standing there puts you in a river of tradition. It’s never the same, but it’s the same landmarks and waysigns and visual clues that you’re somewhere special.
It’s 1932 and 1980 and 2006 all rolled into one. It’s a Main Street so quiet that if you stand outside on a cold night, you swear you hear “U-S-A!” being chanted. It’s where our hockey season, like that of Mike Eruzione, comes to an end this year.
We face some tough teams in our division. We have four games in a 38-hour stretch over two days. I believe in the 17 young men who will be playing on that fabled rink, where, we are told by banners at every corner, “Miracles Happen Here.” I’ve waited 51 weeks to find out if it’s true — again.