This week’s episode: Kyle’s Redemption
Well, as a girl who’s watched plenty of early games featuring the Toronto Maple Leafs on Hockey Night in Canada, I heard Don Cherry sing Wellwood praises a few seasons ago. And we know how right Don Cherry can be sometimes.
So when I heard my hometown team, the Canucks signed Kyle Wellwood on July 1st, I did take notice, remembering the Don Cherry songs on Coaches Corner. I was okay with this signing. So what if Wellwood had some injuries in the past. Hasn’t everyone?
Then the Wellwood photo scandal hit – Egad!!
The photo of Wellwood looking out of shape by a pool with his gal pal (I can’t believe I just wrote, gal pal!) surfaced on various Canucks fan forums.
Then training camp arrives – another Wellwood scandal: he fails the physical.
Forget Watergate....this is a full blown Wellwood- Gate!!!
And then he was crucified...everywhere. Fans, media, angry looking dogs and cats in tiny little Canucks jerseys; Kyle Wellwood became the laughing stock of the team. It was sad to watch. But that’s what happens in the cruel world of sports. People are just plain cruel, especially the guys.
This is has been a lesson in self esteem, and right now, Kyle Wellwood is our poster boy. He’s had to overcome negative opinions, a city turning on him, and still managed to focus on his game, stick to his diet/ exercise plan and prove everybody wrong. Now he’s the toast of the town. He was a guest on After Hours. Everyone wants to know more about Wellwood. Maybe because the bottom line is...Kyle’s like one of us.
I look at Kyle Wellwood’s face and I do not see a hockey player’s face. I see something else. I see him as a lead character in TV show; the It’s the Kyle Wellwood Show...
Kyle Wellwood plays a friendly computer programmer for a fledgling gaming studio. In his spare time he plays hockey for a bumbling professional hockey team, owned by an inarticulate man. The team’s president runs around with cans of team colored paint, constantly painting places in the arena. “I’m branding, you see, it’s all about brand loyalty,” the president repeats over and over too anyone who will listen.
The goal tender is the captain, the coach is a jolly looking guy, and the general manager is obsessed with baseball. There are identical twin players. The team only wins when Kyle plays. He’s a regular guy and looks a little out of place in the locker room next to the muscled and ripped players. Kyle quietly gets ready and shares a computer programmer style joke with the identical twins. Then the pesky French Canadian winger named Alex asks Kyle “Man could you come over tomorrow night, I ave another virus.”
Kyle heads to the ice, and he stops and looks at the stick rack –and all of the long sticks. He runs his fingers along until he stops at the smallest one – he whispers “Sunny Day” the name of his stick as he lifts it off the rack...
This past weekend, the Toronto Maple Leafs circus rolled into Vancouver for the first time in three seasons. And guess who is first on the score board: Kyle Wellwood. He opens the scoring against his old team, the team that dumped him and you know Wellwood’s got to be feeling pretty good about that.
I have a feeling that he’ll only savor this for a short time. He knows his limitations when it comes to his physical body. Like so many of us, he can be prone to packing on a few extra pounds. This wasn't like a Keith Tkachuk failing a physical – that dude’s already made his millions and forged his place in the game. Wellwood will maintain his focus because he is so determined to keep his place on this bumbling, and somewhat lovable hockey club.
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