The playoffs are just starting and there has been some surprises so far. The Penguins, who Vegas put as the odds-on favorite to win the cup gave away leads in each of the first 2 games (at home no less) and find themselves in a hole against the Flyers that no team has ever climbed out of before (the Flyers have never lost a series that they took a 2-0 lead in). And on the other side of the continent, the Vancouver Canucks won the President’s Trophy as the team with the most points in the Regular season. They lost the first 2 games in Vancouver against Los Angeles and have their work cut out to stay in the playoffs.
It is a member of the Vancouver Canucks that I want to draw your attention to in this, my second post on Christians in the NHL playoffs. He has had success in his hockey life – In 2004 he was a member of team USA at the World Juniors, winning the first ever Gold medal for US at the World Junior Championship. Booth is now in his 6th season in the NHL. He has not had the same level of success as of yet. Wednesday Night was Booth’s first ever NHL playoff game. He spent 5 years with the Florida Panthers who missed the playoffs each time, before being traded to Vancouver last October. That is almost as far as you can get traded – Miami to Vancouver. Booth has also battled injury in his career. In the 2009-10 season, he missed 45 games with a concussion from a questionable hit. Shortly after his return, he would sustain another concussion that would sideline him for the rest of the season. He finished with 28 games played. He returned to play all 82 the next season, leading the Panthers in goals and finished 3rd on the team in points.
He has done alright in Vancouver, he battled a knee injury that cost him a month or so, but he has found his scoring touch again, check out this goal he scored against the Edmonton Oilers earlier this month.
Nice move! It is good to see Booth getting noticed for his goal scoring because he spent a lot of time being mentioned on the discussion about concussions and legal/illegal hits.
But that injury and the long recovery from it was not wasted time. As you can hear in this video testimony from Hockey Ministries International. Check it out.
God can and does use our experiences to teach us more about him. We don’t like it much – it is hard and unpleasant and can teach us things about ourselves that we don’t like to find out. Booth realized that maybe he was putting hockey first, and the time away from the game, to recover from this injury, was great introspective time to reset the focus on God and see that His plan is best.
There is also a video of David Booth’s appearance on “After Hours” on CBC. It is a half hour, so I wont embed it here, but you can check it out if you want by clicking here (Hear him reference God working through the concussion at about the 7:10 time mark.)
I am impressed by Booth. He was just traded before this “after hours” appearance – it was after his 3rd game as a Canuck – and here, in this new city, market and media center. It is a little challenging to go from Florida where there you are largely an afterthought in the sports landscape to Vancouver, where to a certain extent, you have a whole nation of hockey crazed people watching with interest, either in rabid support, or ready cheering adamantly against. To come to this spot and be up front with the importance that your faith in Christ plays in your life and how for you, hockey isn’t the most important thing – well that is a boldness that shows that what you are saying is true. And even though you make others think you not as outspoken about your faith as others who share it, (This blogger mentions Rocco Grimaldi in his post, click here to read my post about Grimaldi) you are capturing their attention with your play AND your faith. And that boldness and willingness to declare yourself as a follower of God is something that makes me ready to cheer you on. Last year, I rooted against the Canucks when they battled the Bruins. Should the situation repeat itself this year (looking unlikely at this point) then I will do the same, but I will also be ok with a successful Canucks if it means Booth and teammate Dan Hamhuis – also a Christ-follower, have more opportunities to share what God is doing in their lives.