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

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

What's it's all about through the eyes of an 8-year old

On Monday morning, my 8-year old son woke me up at 6:45 in the morning.

"Dad! You have GOT to see this ... "

"CJ" is not your normal 8-year old, and that is my fault. This child does very well in school and listens to his mom (mostly), but he lives and breathes baseball and hockey. I have no idea where get gets that from.

Zucker after his first NHL goal in St. Paul
He is a baseball player, one of the best in the Houston metro area for his age, and yes I am biased. But he loves watching hockey too, and can tell you the names of all the NHL teams and who their AHL affiliates are.

So when I heard him scream that I have GOT to come see this, I was not surprised to see him watching Channel 681, the NHL network.

He'd already hit the "pause" button after re-winding the DVR to the point where Wild forward Jason Zucker got the puck in his own end. When I sat down, CJ played the highlight for me and I almost teared up when he was more impressed with how Zucker basically undressed Valtteri Filppula and sped in on Peter Mrazek than the actual goal itself.

And then he made the comment I will never forget.

"Dad, it looks like he doesn't need us any more."

I knew what he meant. Us is the Aeros. And because one goal against his favorite team, my 8-year old doesn't think Jason Zucker belongs in the AHL any more.

I know Jason Zucker hopes he's right, although I still think the Aeros will have his services again at some point, but I could be wrong. But Zucker and Coyle and Brodin and Granlund and Larsson and Kuemper and Hackett weren't with won't be with the Aeros forever.

CJ, about four "seasons" ago. Yes, he scored two-hole..
And CJ didn't care that he may not ever get to see Zucker again in Houston. He was thrilled beyond belief that he could see one of his favorite players in the NHL making highlights.

To be perfectly honest, I used to hate it when Aeros got called up. Call me selfish because that is exactly what it was. I was more concerned about how that affected the Aeros that I was about a guy going up to live out his life long dream.

How narrow-minded! But that is a true confession from someone that has followed this organization since its inception.

Here is a link to the story about the john that John Torchetti has done with the Wild prospects during their time down in Houston. It's a great reminder of why the Aeros exist and the true roles and responsibilities of their coaches.

Now when the Aeros get called up, I want to be more like my son.

As we sat down for cereal Monday morning, my 8-year old didn't ask when Zucker might come back to the Aeros and when he could see him at Toyota Center. Caden wanted to know the next time the Wild are in Dallas.

Man, I love that boy.


artandhockey said...

Cute. Must be in his genes ;-)!

Anonymous said...

I have an eight-year old, too, and sometimes their vision is more pure than that of us grownups...but at the same time, they don't have as well-developed a sense of commitment.

I like to see good play get rewarded, and good players get the opportunity in the NHL they've been working toward. At the same time, how does the Wild evaluate whether an individual doesn't just have skills, but is also a good team player if they don't maintain a sense of "team" among whomever's wearing the Aeros shirt for any given game? It feels more to me like the Aeros are the Wild's "bench" with guys bouncing up and down all the time, and while this might motivate some of the guys, I have to think it's detrimental in the long run to the development of others, skill-wise and (for lack of a better word) character-wise.

I think there's a balance between what we fans want on our most selfish days, and what the players deserve on their best days, and I (maybe naively) think something closer to consistency in Aero's performance would let us know we've found the fulcrum.

Andrew J. Ferraro said...

@ Anon - Good and fair point. That is always the million dollar question.

I just think this year is a special case if you will because of the crazy level of expectation in Minnesota.

The coaches and GM up there have a lot riding on the success of this year's team and I think they are getting to the point where the young players do more than some of the older ones.

We'll all see how it plays out soon enough.

Forecheck said...

Great story Andrew!

Anonymous said...

great, great post. i used to feel the same way [aggravated] about wild callups, and i still do to some extent [moreso toward the end of the season]. but seeing our boys get their first goal/assist/shutout/win in the big show just fills me with so much aeros pride i could burst. i am a wild fan BECAUSE of the aeros. because that's where [some of] my boys go when they grow up.

Anonymous said...

Nice article about Torch. Wondered myself why it took so long for Zucker and Darcy to get the call.