Goodbye, Mrs. Hockey

Scott Gomez, Contributor - The Players' Tribune

When I was in seventh grade, there was a poetry contest at my school. The topic was the American flag and if you participated, you got extra credit. Spelling was not my strong suit so I needed all the extra credit I could get. I gave it a shot and get this, ended up taking third place. Won 50 bucks, which seemed like $500 back then. And still to this day, I know my teacher thought I copied from someone else. I didn’t. For one reason or another, I was always able to put together little rhymes to describe what was on my mind. Let’s be honest, it’s never been Shakespeare (you’ll see), but writing poetry eventually became how I liked to pass the time.

During all the long road trips throughout my career, I always kept a journal and wrote poems about whatever. Sometimes they’d make fun of guys I played with, or discuss what happened during that night’s game. Other times they would be about a girl I liked, or even just something funny to thank the stewies who took care of us on all of those team flights. Regardless of the topic, almost all of them were pretty ridiculous and just for my own enjoyment. But when things became tough and I wasn’t playing well, poetry was my outlet. It really helped me.

Hockey has always been my closest relationship. I think that’s the case for most of the guys who dedicate their life to this game. So as a result, a lot of us had different names for what we called her. They were all over the map. For Steve Valiquette she was Mother Hockey. For Adam Burish, Baby Doll. Knuckles Nilan called her his Safe Place. For P.K. Subban she was My Ticket Out Of The Ghetto. Raffi Torres called her My Girl. Rick Lanz would say She Was My Nightmare, She Was My Heaven. And to Mike Mottau, she was My Frozen Lady Friend.

But to me, she’s always been Mrs. Hockey.

In the past few years, as I sensed my playing days were winding down, I started to think about writing one last poem — something that would sum up my deep feelings for this sport I love so much. Then, last November, I opened up The Players’ Tribune and went Ah shit when I saw Kobe Bryant had done that exact thing.

So, with respect to the great Mamba, here’s my love letter to my sport. This is something I’ve tried to put off writing for a long time — as long as I possibly could. But now, after 32 years on the ice, it’s time to finally say goodbye to my first love, Mrs. Hockey.


If you knew or played with me
You’d understand
All those plane rides
I wrote my shit down

So to all my teammates, trainers, doctors, family, friends and staff
Sit back, read G-loves words
Cry or have a laugh

Never forget what I’d always say
All of you were blessed
In SCG’s way
As my people would say, “Olé”

Hahaha, O.K. that was just a little taste of what most of the poems I wrote looked like. Here’s the real thing:

So I leave you now
Crazy I know
But listen my girl
We did it
We made the show

I met you at four
Was love at first sight
I really fell for you
At UAA that night

Dad took me to the Boys & Girls Club
On a Saturday morning we waited in line
To get my free gear
To start our journey
To start our ride

You didn’t tell me
You’d be that hard to get
That’s when I told my parents
That I wanted to quit

Thank God for new skates
That’s all I can say
Cause without them
This story goes a different way

My obsession for you
Grew day by day
You’re all I’d think about
My parents didn’t know what to say

But they let me be
For I think they could see
I was in love with you
Mrs. Hockey

You kept me on our path
Didn’t mean we didn’t have fun
But you were always there
You were always number one

Wasn’t gonna lose you
Wasn’t gonna be dumb
Like the Stones wrote
I was under your thumb

Left home at 16
Homesick I had become
Once we got past it
The fucking fun begun

Bus rides were long and pretty tough
But we knew no better
We didn’t give a flying fuck

Because most learned your honor code
Goes way back in time
Keep your fucking mouth shut
And you’ll be a teammate who shines

Initiation, I won’t go there
I’ll keep that inside with pride
But holy shit
If the public knew what happened
On those long bus rides…

You showed me the world
That I would have never of seen
Like I said
You let this Alaskan, Mexican, Colombian dream

My life would change
For the draft had come
All us young men
Had no clue what was to come

New Jersey’s where we went
I could say I caught you for now
Got placed amongst men
They would show us how

How to compete
How to work
How to have fun
How to be a pro
How it’s fucking done!

Funny thing happened
Your countdown had just begun
For my time with you
Would someday all be done

Cause you leave me
That’s just a fact
Nothing personal
It’s part of your act
Every professional athlete
Knows that

32 years I had you
No matter the city, level or team
You never stopped believing in me
You always let me dream

I get scared of this thought
I mean, I’m sure I’ll see you around at some game
But what scares me most
Is will you forget my name?

So this is our goodbye
Damn girl, it’s finally here
The fact that you leave me
You’d bet I have tears

I will always love you
That I’ll never hide
Because of you Mrs. Hockey
I’ll always live my life with pride
Till the day I die…

Not Done

Life and hockey kind of mirror each other in the sense that when you’re having good times, it’s difficult to imagine how things will ever go wrong. And when you’re having bad times, well, yeah.

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