The Nashville Predators have a program called the Blue Liner of the Game where a player from the area youth hockey leagues skates out and stands with the Predators starters at the blue line for the anthem at the beginning of the game. Each participant waits with an ice girl at the center red line, and then after the Predators starters have been introduced, skates out to stand with the players during the anthem.
At Sunday's game against the Calgary Flames, a young player from the A-Game Mite league (ages 7-8) in Franklin was to skate out with the Predators. What happened next was both touching and indicative of the type of players make up the roster of the Predators.
The young man, whose name I cannot remember, skated from the center red line where he was waiting for his introduction to the Predators blue line.
So far so good.
But rather than skate out and stand with the players, he froze at the boards, standing there alone and away from the team, approximately 50 feet from the nearest Predator player.
The Canadian anthem had just commenced, and the Predator player on the end of the line, Patric Hornqvist, motioned for the young man to come over and join the Predators players on the blue line. The young man saw Hornqvist motion, but did not move. Hornqvist then skated over to him during the Canadian anthem and put his arm around the shoulder of the young man and bent over and said something to him. They then skated together to join the rest of the Predators with Hornqvist arm around his shoulders, and the young player had the experience of standing with the team on the blue line for the remainder of the Canadian anthem and the Star Spangled Banner.
It would have been easy for Hornqvist to just stand there and do nothing. Game face and focus on the upcoming game and all that, you know. Instead, he took it upon himself to comfort the frightened skater and bring him over to join the team.
That small act of kindness and consideration is telling about the character of Patric Hornqvist. I think it is indicative of the character of the team as well.
It speaks to the fact that these elite athletes are good people. That small act of kindness toward a young man says to me that these players are aware of those around them and concerned about their well being. It tells me that this team has a locker room that will weather storms and tough times and pick each other up when it is not going well.
A little act.
One that speaks volumes.