Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Great Times And Tough Times For Bulldog Hockey Fans

It the Stanley Cup Finals … It’s Hard Out Here For A Ferris State University Bulldog

BIG RAPIDS – This year’s Stanley Cup Finals have been an emotional tug of war for so many hockey fans at Ferris State University.

On the one side, many of us have grown up as fans of the Detroit Red Wings – one of the legendary and most recognizable franchises in all of professional sports. The winged wheel, for many people, has become synonymous with professional ice hockey success. Detroit, in the hockey world is “Hockeytown.” Those of us born and/or raised in the state of Michigan, particularly those who have or used to call Southeast Michigan home, tend to have a strong affinity for the Wings.

Watching the Wings play for the Stanley Cup never gets old – not even in Hockeytown – a place that so often has been home to Lord Stanley’s Cup.

This year’s trip to the Stanley Cup Finals is a little different for so many fans of the Red Wings. A large number of fans living in Big Rapids, or Bulldogs who live outside of Big Rapids, have been a bit conflicted.

Sure, we love our Red Wings.

But, we also love our Bulldogs, too – past, present and future Bulldogs.

Opposing the Red Wings, on the other side of this Stanley Cup Finals equation, is former Bulldog All-American Chris Kunitz. It’s hard to think of Bulldog hockey and not think of Chris. Our community swelled with pride as Chris, as a member of the Anaheim Ducks, brought the Stanley Cup to Big Rapids – to share that one-of-a-kind experience with Ferris. It was an unbelievably gracious gesture to bring the Cup to Ferris – the place where he blossomed as a hockey star and turned dreams of becoming a National Hockey League star into reality.

Chris enjoyed a meteoric rise to national college hockey prominence, at Ferris. He became an All-American and a Hobey Baker Award finalist during his senior season in crimson and gold colors as he tallied 79 points on 35 goals with 44 assists – the kind of season most people can only dream of.

Chris, as so many of us now know, no longer plays for the Anaheim Ducks.

These days, Chris is playing for the upstart Pittsburgh Penguins – alongside two of the sports great stars, Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin.

These days, Chris is playing in the Stanley Cup Finals.

These days, Chris is battling the Wings … for Lord Stanley’s Cup.

This year’s Stanley Cup Finals pit one of our favorite sons, Chris Kunitz, against our beloved Detroit Red Wings – the team many Michiganders grew up loving.

Yes, it’s a heart-wrenching experience.

But, if you love professional hockey … you probably are in hockey heaven these days as this series between the Penguins and Red Wings heats up.

It begs the questions: What are the emotions of Ferris State University people watching Chris Kunitz battling the Detroit Red Wings?

1 comment:

  1. And this in turn has made Big Rapids a hockey town of its own.