Sunday, April 16, 2006

O Captain! My Captain!

Last night the Chicago Wolves did something they have only done once before- they retired a number. Given, the team has only existed for 12 years, but this is still a pretty big deal.

Now I don't usually like scorers. I'm more a fan of the hard-nosed, hard-hitting defenseman or a goalie than a scorer. But Steve Matlais was more than a scorer. I've seen him lay checks that most football defensive linemen would be jealous of, and it has been said that what most players tend to forget about Malts is that he is a very tall 6'5" and skated at about 220 pounds for most of his career. Not exactly your first choice to get hit by. I've seen him score goals that were mystifying, goals that made me want to cry, goals that made me respect him for everything he could do.

He certainly earned that respect. He was captain of the Wolves for 10 of his 11 seasons- 10 of the 12 seasons the Wolves has existed. He holds the records for most career goals, assists, points, games played, and penalty minutes. He led us to three championships and earned the unending respect of the players, fans, and coaches.

He was the team, and he will be missed.

This has already been proven. When I went to my first game this year, I felt something was out-of-place when I couldn't find the familiar number 11 on the ice. I checked out a roster when I got home, and he wasn't on it. I got worried. I did some digging, and sure enough, on a Wolves message board, there it was. The news that he had retired. Back then, there was no news of a Steve Maltais night. No news at all that he had retired. I wasn't exactly happy about this. Last night fixed that.

Don't let me forget to mention that this is the first year the Wolves have missed the playoffs. Coincidence? I think not.

Good bye, Steve.


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