I am going to take a brief brake from my series on Christian Baseball players and celebrate the end of the hockey season and the start of the off season. First of all, congratulations to my favorite team – the Boston Bruins – in winning their first Stanley Cup in my lifetime. I found the series exciting and the results were my wildest hockey dreams coming true. Entertaining stuff!
And that ushers in the start of the off season. When I was younger, and had greater access to hockey in general (It is, after all one of Canada’s national sports) I would follow the up and coming players with great interest and so when the draft arrived, I would settle in and watch it with deep routed interest, much like what happens with the NFL draft here in the USA. I knew the players, and had some idea about their game and so I knew who I hoped would go to teams I liked, and what my favorite teams needed to improve. (I studied this a lot because, as mentioned, my favorite team ALWAYS needed to improve – they were never the best until this past season).
Unfortunately, as a grown up, I need to focus attention on other things, and it isn’t as easy to find hockey coverage here in the US, especially the Canadian Junior Leagues – the main feeder of Canadian players to the NHL)
But as the draft approached last weekend, I was watching with great interest where 1 player in particular would wind up.
His name is Rocco Grimaldi. He was drafted by the Florida Panthers, and he is an outspoken Christ follower. He is very active in social media and is always ready and willing to share his faith and what God is teaching him.
Of the 4 major sports in North America, hockey seems to have fewer people who boldly claim a relationship with God. So when I learn of Christians in hockey, I appreciate that they are in a vast mission field and I hope and pray that they have plenty of opportunities to speak out about their faith in God to fans, teammates, and whoever else is around to listen.
Read this article from Yahoo Sports for more about Grimaldi and his faith.
One of the questions the article asks is “did his faith cause some teams to stay away from him?” I have heard similar thoughts about Tim Tebow, an outspoken Christ follower who plays quarterback for the NFL’s Denver Broncos. His new book has just been released and I look forward to reading more about his story.
But as for being bold in our faith, the temptation may be to stay quiet and keep one’s faith inside. I know that this is not just a temptation that professional athletes face, but a temptation that we all face. No one likes to be made fun of. No one likes to be looked at as weird or annoying. We all like to be liked, and to be popular. But is that what really matters? What is more important? Is having people like us the most important thing? Is it important even if they don’t consider the God we believe in to be important? Or is it more important to represent our God and stand up for our belief in him, regardless of what others may say or think?
We don’t face much in the way of persecution for our beliefs at this stage of history. Ridicule seems to be as bad as it gets. So what should we do? The Bible also tells us that if we are silent, even the rocks will cry out to the glory of God. If God’s glory is so evident and powerful that even rocks will cry out, then I think we can be confident that He’s got our back if we boldly claim faith in him to the masses, whoever they may be. And whatever they may think.
So welcome to the NHL Rocco. I am already a fan of yours for what I’ve seen/read/learned about you.
Stay bold and keep the faith!