The End of Days...

Hogmanay hockey today as the Clan ended the year with a home game against Dundee Stars. A funny shot taken by mum as we prepared to settle in for the game.

The usual pregame rituals were punctuated with an announcement to the crowd. Our former bench coach who returned to Canada about 18 months ago lost his wife to cancer earlier in the week. I had heard the news shortly after it was announced. I knew Michelle as Mimi played with her daughters with the Scotland Ladies Under 18 team. One of her daughters was the national captain and was brilliant with Mimi when she made her debut and throughout her first tournament. Brilliant on the ice and off making sure Mimi was ok and keeping her calm in the pregame routines and announcements.

During the long hours of training with the national squad a number of the parents used to sit in the stands and watch with coffee whilst many went off to shop and kill the time away from the rink. Michelle was one of the ones who would sit rink side and we would all chat and laugh at the crazy world that is ice hockey.

She was a larger than life figure, funny, always driving the girls to be the best that could be but not in a way that they felt pressured. She was very supportive of Mimi and always reiterated how talented she was to anyone within earshot, especially the coaches.

Seeing photos on twitter recently of her it was hard to see how the illness had ravaged her, a shadow of the woman she had been. Although we knew her time was limited it was still a shock to hear the news.

It was very difficult to stand in the crowd tonight and hear the announcement, it was very strange to take part in a minutes silence for someone you knew... for many a name read out before a game a wife of a former coach but for one or two of us a strangely emotional minute at the end of the year.

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