Site designed and powered by Stainless Communications.
Music by David Friedmann
Whenever I try to convince Ryan Gordon that hockey is, well, soccer in a freezer, he just rolls his bright eyes in that unassuming, confident way as if to say, "You poor misguided soul."

There is no bigger hockey fan in Connecticut than Gordon, and there is no finer fraternity than the hockey fraternity that has come to support Gordon's current battle with cancer.

Gordon is a 19-year-old Wallingford resident who could get out of his hospital bed tomorrow and whip most of our butts in golf (his other sports passion, where he's a 10-handicap). He's also suffered through a rare lifelong affliction called Vator Syndrome, which has resulted in chronic esophageal and lung problems … none of which has ever remotely diminished an ever-present smile.

A week ago, Wolf Pack coach Jim Schoenfeld, assistant coaches Ken Gernander and Ulf Samuelsson, team captain Craig Weller and assistant captains Martin Grenier and Chad Wiseman paid a visit to Gordon at Yale-New Haven Hospital. "He's a very courageous and determined young man," said Schoenfield. "He just had surgery a day or so before and he couldn't speak (because of tubes), but he could write. I asked him who his favorite player was and he wrote down Sami Kapanen (a longtime Carolina Hurricanes player currently with the Philadelphia Flyers). Then I asked him who his favorite Wolfpack player was and he pointed to Kenny Gernander."

"For us, a young man like that is a tremendous inspiration.  He's been through more than any of us have or will have to live through. Not only do you feel a certain degree of sadness for what he's had to battle, but a great deal of admiration because he keeps fighting.  It was an emotional visit."

I'll tell you what will be emotional for me.  Sitting with Ryan at a Wolf Pack game when he's well.