While sleeping in his spacious twin bed one night, Bettman had a dream. He had a dream about having a dream….
Let us not wallow in the melted ice of despair, I say to you today, my fellow fans.
And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the NHL dream.
I have a dream that one day this league will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all hockey fans are created equal.”
I have a dream that one day on the sands of the desert, the sons of Coyotes fans and the sons of Canadians will be able to sit down together at the table of fandom.
I have a dream that one day even in Florida, a state sweltering with the heat of fan apathy, sweltering with the heat of ownership issues, will be transformed into an oasis of pucks and ice.
I have a dream that little children will one day live where they will not be judged by the climate of their location but by color of their jerseys.
I have a dream today!
I have a dream that one day, up in Canada, with its vicious purists, with its media having lips dripping with the words of “relocation” and “real fans” — one day right there in Canada little sun-belt boys and sun-belt girls will be able to join hands with little Canadian boys and Canadian girls as sisters and brothers.
I have a dream today!
I have a dream that one day every fan shall be exalted, and every arena and rink shall be made low, the rough ice will be made smooth, and the curved sticks will be made straight; “and the glory of Shane Doan shall be revealed and all shall see it together.”
This is our hope, and this is the faith that I go back to Arizona with.
With this faith, we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our sport into a beautiful symphony of fandom. With this faith, we will be able to work together, to struggle together, to go to games together, to stand up for Pronger suspensions together, knowing that we will be seen equal one day.
And this will be the day — this will be the day when all of Shane Doan’s children will be able to sing with new meaning:
My hockey ’tis of thee, sweet game of misery, of thee I sing.
Land where Pronger’s elbows flied, land of the zamboni ride,
From every rink-side, let goal horns ring!
And if hockey is to be a great sport, this must become true.
And so let goal horns ring from the prodigious Mecca of Toronto.
Let goal horns ring from the Sedins of Vancouver.
Let goal horns ring from the Hemskys of Edmonton.
Let goal horns ring from the Kovalevs of Ottawa.
Let goal horns ring from the Gomezs of Montreal.
But not only that:
Let goal horns ring from Kovelchuks of Atlanta.
Let goal horns ring from Lecavaliers of Tampa Bay.
Let goal horns ring from every Doan and Hanzal of Phoenix.
From every sun-belt city, let goal horns ring.
And when this happens, when we allow goal horns to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of Doan’s children, Canadian men and sun-belt men, Russians and Czechs, shootout supporters and OT lovers, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old spiritual:
Viable at last! Viable at last!
Thank Doan Almighty, we are viable at last!
Bettman’s dream made it significantly more difficult for fans to wake up to an empty arena and U-Haul tracks going North. Is it so wrong to have tan NHL players wearing flip flops and shorts during the season? I dare say not! And so fans Atlanta, Tampa Bay, Dallas, Florida, and of course, Phoenix were able to sleep a bit easier knowing the Bettman had a dream.
When I have a dream, it’s waaaaaaaaaay more apt to be about Prukins with the winkage.