January 19th was a great day for ice hockey in North America with the return of the NHL, and especially in my state, which celebrated our annual "Hockey Day in Minnesota." Today, two high school teams played outdoors on Lake Pokegema in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers mens' hockey team played North Dakota, and then the Minnesota Wild played their season opener - all on TV. Across the state, youth and high school teams were also playing the game they love. But, while it was a day to celebrate hockey, it is also a reminder of the dark cloud that hangs over the game: concussions.
The end of the NHL lockout and the annual Hockey Day in Minnesota should have been cause for celebration, but for a longtime Minnesota high school hockey coach and official the hockey-fest was also a reminder that concussions continue to be a dark cloud hanging over the sport.