On Friday July 20th I woke up in Ottawa in a great mood. I had just completed the first two parts of my great Canadian adventure and was leaving for the airport to head to Toronto. My friend’s little boy Maddox had woken me up by poking me in the arm and informing me that it was time for a peanut butter sandwich. Fair enough, I was up. I grabbed my phone and started scrolling through my twitter feed with the intention of finding out the latest hockey news, but instead I was met with the devastation that was the Aurora, Colorado movie theater shooting.
I am not an emotional person by nature, but I was absolutely sick to my stomach as I read about what had happened; I had no idea how close to home the tragedy would come. While waiting for my flight in Ottawa I caught glimpses of the news and learned that one of the victims had been a young aspiring hockey writer/broadcaster named Jessica Ghawi (Jessica Redfield). Jessica had almost been killed in the Toronto Eaton Centre shooting just a month ago, and was living her life to the fullest, chasing her dreams, not taking a single moment for granted as a result. To escape one shooting and then die in another is nothing short of an absolute horrific tragedy, and my heart goes out to all of her close friends and family, some of whom I am acquainted with. For those who knew her best, she was obviously a light of positivity and encouragement, and a delight to be around.
Once I arrived in Toronto and checked into my hotel, I took some time to watch the news reports and really absorb what had happened. I was absolutely sick to my stomach. Pacing my hotel room that day; tears in my eyes looking down at Air Canada Centre, I made a decision that every word I wrote from that point forward would be for a girl I had never met, but who I hold in the highest regard. Since Jessica’s dreams of being someone in sports news were so abruptly stolen from her all I can do is take her hopes and dreams with me, and pay my respect for her the only way I know how; by never giving up on being a credible hockey journalist, and always representing the players, companies, and organizations I work with in the best, most fair way possible. I will be signing off from here on out with (4J) in honor of Jessica.
I have the honor of writing for Gongshow Gear hockey now; an opportunity unlike any other that I have been blessed with and am forever grateful for. I hope that one day I will be sitting behind an anchor desk, or writing editorials for The Hockey News or The Fourth Period Magazine and be able to credit my success to the support and readership of you all. I pray that I never take one read from you all for granted and that
I especially don’t take one moment of this amazing life for granted either! At the end of the day, no matter how you look at it, we are all a big hockey family. It doesn’t matter if you are a player, a coach, a writer, a lawyer, an official, a broadcaster, a GM, the head of clothing line, or any other possible job within the hockey community, we are all cut from the same cloth. We love a lifestyle, and we represent hard work and dedication in every move we make.
I want to take this opportunity to encourage you all like I always do, but even more so now, to chase down your dreams to the farthest extent possible. Do not hesitate to take opportunities you might not have previously considered, and when you think its all over, go back to the drawing board, because there will always be a place for the Gongers in this world to be involved somehow. If I can do anything to help support and encourage you all, I certainly will, I simply ask that you continue to support me as well. I thrive off of your support and comments and am forever humbled that you take the time to read what I have to say about this wonderful world that is hockey.
Take a minute today and ask yourself what is really important to you, and then never let go of that. Be the kind of people you would want your kids to grow up to be like, and be the kind of person that if it all ended today, people would look back at and remember fondly with tons of love and respect. Never forget how important and cared for you are Gongers, it comes with the territory of being a part of this family.
W.S.P. and never take life for granted Gongers. // I will be posting in the next few days about my trip across Canada, starting with Stampede ending with Gongerfest so stay tuned for blogs all about my random adventures and crazy happenings from Alberta to Quebec to Ontario! //
Follow me on twitter Gongers! @AmySnow17