Respect the Room

The locker room, that is.

There are several rules of “respecting the room.”

It’s true the that the sports locker room has Vegas-like qualities – what happens there, stays there. And nowhere is that truer than hockey, where teams’ inner sanctums are considered sacred territory. Whether it’s a college hockey locker room or an NHL room, the principal remains the same.

A second rule is followed to the letter, usually a “C” or an “A”. When one of the team’s captains speaks, everyone listens. More than any other sport, the captaincy is serious business in hockey. That’s reflected in the real estate they occupy – usually in the middle of a row of locker stalls. In hockey it’s not about prominence, it’s about influence.

A third rule is there is no hiding. Perhaps this is why the stalls face each other – accountability. A premium is placed on it, and there are few better measures of it than eye contact.

One more rule. DO NOT step on the logo in the middle of the carpet in the room.

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Tap your stick on the ice for the Green Knights

How does an NCAA Division III college hockey team relate to this book?

Let me explain.

I first was exposed to heavier doses of hockey in 1996 while covering St. Norbert College in DePere, Wis. Over the course of a few years, I grew to love the sport more and actually began playing it at age 30.

From three years covering the Green Knights I gained a handful of lifelong friends and many terrific acquaintances. Two of the closest friends are SNC coach Tim Coghlin and his wife Barb.

Cogs, as he’s known, showed plenty of patience as I learned the game well enough to write about it and not completely embarrass myself. His ability to teach extends beyond the ice, and it is not exclusively for his players. You remove St. Norbert College hockey from my resume, and I’m not writing this book, simple as that.

This past Sunday, St. Norbert won its first national championship in Coghlin’s 15 seasons at the school. It was the Knights’ third trip to the final and fifth to the Frozen Four.

The trophy could not have found a better home.

Why write a hockey book?

Because I love the sport and have a lot of background covering it, that’s why!

I believe it’s a healthy thing for people to pursue their passions, and the book project I’m working on is one of them.

In this blog I will share my experiences dealing with players, coaches and administrators from the NHL, junior, college and youth ranks. I have come across many compelling stories and met many amazing people in the process.

To learn more about the book, visit www.palmtreesandfrozenponds.com

Join me for the ride!

Chris