I want to point you at a story that is only nominally about hockey. It’s the story of Malik Johnson, powerfully written for The Tennesseean by Jessica Bliss. Malik is a troubled teen, a classic but tragically common tale, or he at least he would have been if not for the intervention of one of our favorites, Joel Ward.
Through Big Brothers Big Sisters, Ward first connected with Johnson, then twelve years old, six years ago. Ward and phalanx of others in the Nashville Predators organization gave Johnson support and companionship when he needed it most. When Ward left Nashville, his bond with Johnson didn’t end. “You just can’t pick up and leave somebody behind like that,” Ward tells the Tennessean.
Give the story a read. You’ll be glad you did, and you’ll probably also be glad you got to cheer for Joel Ward for a while.