Houston Aeros 1994-2013: Thank you for all the great memories and two decades of great hockey and entertainment.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Thoughts on a season ending...

There's a great movie that I recommend you all put on your Netflix list called Pirate Radio. It's about a rock and roll radio station that ran on a big ship in the ocean off the coast of England in the 60s, because the government banned rock on the BBC.

It's about the guys on that boat who put their heart and soul into the cause of delivering entertainment to their listeners, risking a certain amount of peril, but also getting lots of hot chicks, to do it. Sound familiar?

Anyway, there's a scene in the movie that struck me like an anvil when I saw it and it came back to me as I drove home tonight, trying my best to see the lines on the road through my tears.

Carl: You okay?

The Count: Yeah, just... You know, a few months ago, I made a terrible mistake.

Carl: Really?

The Count: Yeah. I realized something. And instead of crushing the thought the moment it came I... I let it hang on and... Now I know it to be true. And I'm afraid it's stuck in my head forever.

Carl: What was the thought?

The Count: That these are the best days of our lives.... It's a terrible thing to know, but I know it.

Carl: I don't know about that.

The Count: Well, yeah. Yeah. Maybe you'll be lucky. Maybe you'll have better days, but I doubt it. We stood on top of the mountain, compadre. It's a long way do-be-do-be down.
And that's pretty much how I feel tonight. This season was special. It was special in a quiet, determined way that, I dunno about you guys, but it sneaked up on me. And I don't think it's ever going to be this good again.

Personally, it was extra special for me. Every day I got to hang out with John and Andrew was such a pleasure. Every game on press row... there is no happier place for me.

Used to, when I had to go to my happy place, it was on a hammock, gentle ocean breeze rocking me into a serene bliss. Now, my happy place is right there at the top of 108, watching hockey, writing about hockey, simply awash in things I love.

And I did grow to love this team. There isn't a guy in the bunch I can say a bad word about. In fact, most of them, I can't even begin to express my appreciation and admiration for their efforts, their leadership, their strength--both mental and physical.

And Yeo... gosh. Well, I already wrote about him for our friends over at Hockey Wilderness, some serious, some not so serious. But what I didn't say was how much I appreciated his generous and even-keeled interaction with the media all season. He literally could not have been nicer to us without actually bringing us flowers and giving shoulder massages.

The guy just flat out gets it, and if he's here next year, I'll be surprised and delighted. If you weren't already aware of how lucky we are/were to have him, please believe me when I say we were VERY lucky.

Lastly, Rich Bocchini has just been amazing to work with all season. Taking over the gig just before the first puck dropped, he jumped in and immediately made sure we had what we needed to do our jobs. And he's been a pleasure all season.

The disappointing thing about sports is that you run into an awful lot of egos in the front offices, so when you find a PR guy who literally says, "Whatever you need, I will try and get it for you." and then he goes and does it, you know you've got a keeper.

I don't want to leave people out, but I could go on too long if I don't. Needless to say, the hockey ops folks, the docs, Joe, everybody I've gotten to know or know better this season, are just grade A folks. Thanks for letting me tag along in Bingo. It was an unbelievable experience.


In the end, this series goes back to those 9 days Binghamton had off. The Aeros ran out of gas after having to battle to 7 games in rounds 2 and 3. It was evident how much they wanted it, but Bingo had the jump in their legs all series, except for their rusty first game.

To me, that break was the difference in the series. Sometimes that's just how the puck bounces though.

Lehner was a pleasure to watch, though if they'd actually wanted to make this a REALLY fun series, they would have played both back-up goalies and just put me in picture-in-picture up on the Jumbotron. But nobody asked me. That great idea will die with the 2011 season.

Thanks to all the fans who support the team with all your hearts and minds and wallets, and extra thanks to those who do that AND support us so kindly here at T3I. 

We stood on top of the mountain, compadres. I wouldn't have had it any other way.


B2Bomber said...

It was a fantastic season for sure. We'll all remember it. Next year...well, who knows. This is the AHL. The team roster will certainly have a few new names on it and some of our favorites will find solitude elsewhere.

On the game...I tough and I felt that the boys didn't play their best game and for that I left the TC a little disappointed. I just didn't see the urgency.....

Thanks to all the T3I for keeping us posted on the games. You really do a GREAT job and if there were an Emmy for a hockey blog you'd surely be nominated.

I'll check in during the summer to see what's going on with personnel. Thanks.

Nick in New York said...

Simply: you rule, Heather.

Tremendous, tremendous stuff.

Also, congratulations to Binghamton.

CatTrick said...

Where's the 'like' button?

Anonymous said...

Thank you Aeros.

As stated by B2Bomber, these young men gave the fans a fantastic season. The ability to work hard and transform into a team that came from dead last in the division last season and started there this season into a gutsy, hard driven, giving it all they got team, is way understated. I salute you young men.

It was with a heavy heart seeing their anguish after the game. But it wasn't a heavy heart because they lost but because they gave all they had and for that I feel for them.

Winning would of been great for the guys but in my book they are not losers. They played with determination, heart and grit. I wasn't disappointed with their game last night.

While I am sure the roster will change for the next season all I have to say is.. for those who may not come back, good luck and enjoy, hope you have a great season wherever you may land, (you will always be an Aeros in book).

Thank you to the players, the coaches, T3I, the service reps (thanks Josh you've been great). But mostly again, THANK YOU Aeros players, without guys like you there wouldn't be a team and you guys made a wonderful team.

AiH said...

Thank you Heather.
Thank you Aeros.

artandhockey said...

@all DITTO!

Dee said...

Heather - just wonderfully written, well said.
What a great ride through the playoffs by this team and what a fantastic way for some of these guys to show they're ready for the NHL. Perhaps it's best this way? No cup cockiness going into the Wild's camp this fall, but enough confidence to show you've got what it takes to make an impact on a team that's rebuilding.

LizRM said...

This was indeed a special season for Houston hockey fans! So exciting to be playing June hockey....I know the Aeros have definitely added to their fan base.
As usual Heather, you have captured the emotions of the fans. Thanks for your 1st hand accounts and thank you VERY much for your humor!

Chris Jerina said...

What a fun season... obviously I get a chance to see games that most Aeros fans don't but missed some awesome ones at the Toybox this season.

I'll remember this season for finally getting to see Kass score a goal live, Hackett not taking any crap in the crease, POS single-handedly change how the team played offensively, and Morency making his debut in Rockford hitting everything in sight.

Not to mention some exciting finishes, being stuck in airports overnight, and making pizza runs on the drive back from Rockford.

It was fun, lets do it again next season!

Forecheck said...

Just a quick comment on Yeosy - he's a class act all around be he the Aeros captain (perhaps the best one ever), an NHL assistant, or a head coach.

Regarding "head coach" - my understanding is he is under consideration for both the jobs in Minnysohta and Ottawa. One keeps him in the organization, the other gets him closer to home. So he can't go wrong either way.

I doubt he will be back - - along with a lot of the players (maybe three to the NHL and two to Europe, plus all the free agent losses).

Word verification "messn" - as in "The Aeros loss last night, though not entirely unexpected, is messn with my mood today".

Anonymous said...

I echo everything you all have said to this point. Thanks to a great Aeros team, coaching staff, and all the others who keep the guys in shape and on the ice.

My heart was breaking for you last night, but this morning I awoke knowing each of you is resilient and determined to move ahead. It was a joy watching you develop throughout the season into a cohesive group, supportive of one another and taking it all the way to the finals. You were awesome!

Thanks to Heather (you did great on NHL XM radio yesterday), John and Andrew for your great coverage and keeping us up to date and informed, and John, your photos have added so much!

Thanks to Chris Jerina too, for your contribution of terrific photography. Hope to see you next season too.

I want to wish each individual player on this special team the very best in the future, wherever you may go. We'll be keeping track and saying, "He was once a Houston Aero" with great pride.

D'Ann said...

Having been in your shoes last year, I know exactly how you feel in this post. For the record, next year will be the toughest...high expectations from fans, anger and disappointment when you lose games early and a sense of pride when you see "your guys" doing well on other teams or in the NHL.

So happy to have been part of press row in Houston for a game. You guys are a great bunch despite being one of the Stars biggest enemies on the ice. Thanks for your dedication to the Aeros - I will certainly miss you guys next season!!!