The Fraternity - An Early Morning Call

The most anxious time of the year for me and many hockey fans is waiting for the season to start.  Like a child waiting for Santa or a back-seat-brat asking every two minutes “Are we there yet?”, I cant wait.  The late June NHL draft and notes from team camps and mini camps does little to satisfy my hunger for hockey.

In late August 2009, with the next season just a flip of the calendar away, I was as anxious as ever.  The previous season was a good one for the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.  A tiebreaker away from being division champions, their 49-23-3-5 record for 106 points was not enough after a disappointing first round ouster in the playoffs.

Having finished a long day of work at my day job and paying respects at my local “place of choice,” I retired for the evening knowing the next day I’d be one day closer to the start of the season. At 12:38 am my cell phone started playing an annoying tune I have since deleted . . . The season has begun!

  • “Hey Mike, it’s Jesse (Joensuu) what are you doing?”
  • “I was sleeping.  How are you?”
  • “Good!  Just got back.  I’m here with Figgy (Robin Figren) and the guys; come on over?”
  • “On my way!”

I live on a boat (The Penalty Box), which I keep docked at “Tuna’s Boardwalk Marina” in Stratford, CT.  The marina sits on the Housatonic River and extends from Interstate 95 to the Devon Bridge on Route 1.  My ‘place of choice’ for several years has been ‘The Harborside Bar and Grille’, just across Route 1 from the marina and only a few hundred yards away from ‘The Penalty Box”.

It was the beginning of a new season, another season of hope.  Jesse, Figgy and all who didn’t ‘make it’ out of camp would join a group of returning upper classmen that included Blake Comeau, Jeff Tambellini, Andrew MacDonald, Micheal Haley and more.  The freshman class included Justin DiBenedetto, Matt Martin and others, most from Garth Brooks exceptional draft class of 2008.  All with promise and skill, each with the same dream… the early morning call.  Welcome to the fraternity.


-Mike Flannery

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