But what I saw displayed by the fans of our hometown team makes me question whether or not I’ll go back again this year.
The reaction to the introduction of Connor Burgess was disgusting. At the mere mention of his name, a rain of boos came down from the stands while he stood there and took it all. People seem to be forgetting is this young man is only 17 years old. Having thousands of people showing a negative reaction to your name — in your hometown no less — is nothing less than bullying.
The list of hockey players who have elite skills at his age is short, think Crosby or Stamkos, or for someone my age, Gretzky. The Ontario Hockey League is where young men figure out if they have a professional future in the game they’ve played for most, if not all, of their lives.
Connor is no different than any of the other players — Nick Baptiste, Kevin Raine or Nathan Cull — with the exception these players are years older than he is. In hockey years, two years of growth and development are huge, but we seem not to even be prepared to give him that opportunity.
Connor was last year’s winner of the Ontario Hockey League’s Ivan Tennant Memorial Award, given to the top high school student in the OHL.
That means he’s a smart kid. But when strangers hoot and holler at the mere mention of your name that can take even the strongest individuals and bring them down, just like any other teenager.
Picking on him just because he’s the owner’s kid is beneath all of us. If you don’t like the ownership of the team, stay home – don’t take it out on the one person who’s accessible.
He deserves better. Sudbury deserves better.