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Thursday, September 08, 2011

The Joy of Life, The Agony of Death

I was quite young when I started to watch Wide World of Sports.  I was always fond of Jim McKay and one of my earliest sports memories were the 1972 Munich Olympics.  It was left to McKay to report on the massacre of Israeli athletes and words he said that day resonated with me this week. 

<<"When I was a kid my father used to say "Our greatest hopes and our worst fears are seldom realized." Our worst fears have been realized tonight. They have now said there were 11 hostages; two were killed in their rooms yesterday morning, nine were killed at the airport tonight. They're all gone.">>

In the space of two days, hockey in the NY area went through our greatest hopes with the benefit for MSG's Jake Wisniewski, who is recovering from a double lung transplant in his continuing fight against cystic fibrosis.  Several people commented to me on what a great event it was --even more so because the past and present NHL players were all so approachable. Tens of thousands of dollars were raised on Jake's behalf as players, media members, and fans of all three local teams converged on a bar in midtown Manhattan.  Our hopes for Jake's recovery continue and you can still help at www.cotaforjakew.com  .

Then, less than 12 hours after the event ended, those worst fears came true when an entire Russian hockey team was wiped away with a tragic plane accident.  Three players with Islander ties were among the victims-- Brad McCrimmon, the former Isles assistant; Josef Vasicek, who scored 15 goals in 81 games for the Isles in 2007-08 and Alex Karpotsev, the former Ranger Cup winner who played three games for the Isles late in the 2003-04 season after being acquired at the trade deadline. In the matter of moments the Isles lost two alumni after having only three players in their entire history predecease them.  May their families cherish their memories and somehow find peace.

Forever1940 is the nom de plume of Eric Hornick, statistician on Islander home telecasts since 1982. Visit my blog: forever1940.blogspot.com and follow me on Twitter @ehornick

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