Last night, Malcolm Subban made his NHL regular season debut. Even though I have never played organized hockey at any level (other than floor hockey at my church), I did grow up in Canada and had the dream of what it would be like to play in the NHL, so I’m sure that Subban has long imagined what it would be like to suit up and play at the highest level of professional hockey in a meaningful game. And while the game didn’t go quite like I’m sure it did in those dreams – he surrendered 3 quick second period goals and was pulled from the game for a stretch before returning in the third period – the fact that he made it is an accomplishment, and the challenges he faced will motivate him I’m sure to keep working hard to be even more successful in future outings.
I am a lifelong bruins fan and since starting this blog, I have had the joy of sharing the faith stories of a couple of key players on my favorite team. Tim Thomas was a focus during the 2011 Stanley Cup Championship season, and Jarome Iginla was featured here last year. I love to share the faith stories of any player I read about, but it carries an extra joy when it is a member of a team I already cheer for.
So to that end, I welcome Malcolm Subban to the NHL with my beloved Bruins. Malcolm was a first round draft pick in 2012 and played his junior hockey with the Belleville Bulls. It was during his time with the Bulls that Subban came to realize the importance of faith in God. As you can read in this interview with hockey journal, chapel is an important time for Subban. When asked what the best advice he ever received was, Subban said “Know(ing) that He (God)is always there and there for you to talk to. Always have faith in God and keep your faith strong.”
My takeaways from Subban’s story:
1- Meet them where they are at – I want to thank and acknowledge all the chaplains at all levels of sport. What an important and fantastic work God is doing through you. The sporting world is busy especially at the pro levels with travel, public appearances, practice, games and media. Even is high school, college and in Subban’s case, Major Junior hockey, these chaplains bring God into the business and offer athletes, coaches and referees a chance to connect with the Creator of the Universe. I pray for reminders to take God to the world around me so that they can encounter Him and see Him transform their life.
2- God is with us and his enemy is after us – Subban’s masks show the angel of death, or grim reaper. Also included on the mask are bible references or verses that talk about God being with us in the midst of harship, challenges and attacks. It is good to remember that the devil is on the prowl, “looking for souls devour” but also that God is with us and He will bring us strength and comfort.