Living with regrets

September 29, 2013 by Mark McGlothlen · Leave a Comment 

Last week, among others, I made the following comment: “We can live our lives with regrets, I suppose, but I prefer not to. It can drive you crazy worrying about the ’what ifs‘ in life. Every single thing we do can be analyzed and debated, so why bother? So while I may wonder, I do not regret.”

When I wrote that comment, I believed it. I told myself that, sure, I wonder how this or that may have gone had I handled things differently. Both good and bad. But to say I do not regret, I guess, was a bit of a fallacy.

We all regret things in life; who was I kidding? Heck, sometimes I regret what I had for dinner. But I mean it when I say I NEVER and I mean NEVER, EVER regret….dessert!

Yes, my sad attempt at humor. Nice, huh?

But in all seriousness, I really believe that regret is a not only a fact of life, but also a very large part of it, as well. It is how we handle that regret that is what is important.

Do I regret waiting so long to get my degree? No. And yes, I do mean that. I have enjoyed my life up to this point, and I am really enjoying it now as I travel on this new career path.

However, I do have many regrets in my life. I think of them now and then and wonder how things may be different today in my life, relationships with others, or in any number of things, if I had made a different choice. I would like to think that those regrets are just in the back of my mind waiting to be triggered from time to time.

Some are, but others pop up more frequently.

I regret not being more outgoing in high school. I wonder how different my experience would have been had I been the person I am now. What if I had made the decision to stick with Cross Country instead of quitting? That is not a huge regret, but I wonder if I would have found success if I had kept on running, rather than running away.

I guess you can call me a quitter because I also quit band during my sophomore year. I do not regret that, however, as that didn’t last and I was back making music a week later. That is a story that Marge Caid (band director) and I still laugh about all these years later.

The ones that stick with me the most are probably the most common amongst us all: the loss of a loved one.

I regret not going to visit my grandma more when she was in the hospital. I wish I had spent more time with my grandpa when I lived just a few blocks away from him. I wish I had asked my dad more questions and had more in-depth talks with him about life before he succumbed to cancer. I regret the times I do not get to spend with my children, knowing that they will be grown before I know it. I can change that, however.

Those are the ones that hang over my head like a storm cloud.

I also regret the lack of communication I have with some of my family members, especially those that I used to be close with. Life is a flowing stream, we change, our families grow, but the ties that bind a family should not fray. And sadly, in my own family and in families of those that I care about, the bond has broken. In some instances, especially for some in my family, the distance between them seems way too deep and divided to even attempt reconciliation. To me, that is sad, and I hope for the best.

It is human to regret. I think that is part of what gives us character and helps us make better decisions in our lives.

But if we do not learn a lesson from the regrets that may haunt us now, we are doing a huge disservice to ourselves and those around us.

Emotional Day

September 29, 2013 by Mark McGlothlen · Leave a Comment 

Last Friday was a pretty monumental day in my life.

What started out as a day full of excitement, anticipation and yes, nerves, ended on a very somber note when I got home.

To backtrack, last Thursday afternoon I received the phone call that I had been waiting for. A JOB OFFER! Of course I accepted, without hesitation, mind you. I mean, this is what I have been dreaming of doing my entire life. Yes, I am now (and proudly) able to proclaim that I am a TEACHER!

The road to becoming a teacher was not easy, as I have covered in this column a couple of times. But, regardless of the bumps in the road and the fact that I am nearly 40 years old and FINALLY working in the career that I have always dreamed of, I would not change a thing.

I do not regret where I have been in my past careers. I have met many wonderful people that I would never have had the chance to meet otherwise. Many of those past co-workers are now close friends of mine.

However, there is a part of me that, from time to time, says, “Imagine if you would have spent the past 16 years in the classroom instead of with the bank”. We can live our lives with regrets I suppose, but I prefer not to. It can drive you crazy worrying about the “what ifs” in life. Every single thing we do can be analyzed and debated, so why bother. So while I may wonder, I do not regret.

What I do know is that I am VERY happy with where I am at this moment in my life. I feel such a sense of accomplishment every time I walk into my classroom, I enjoy the students and I will continue to strive to be the greatest teacher I can be for them.

It will take time to get into the full swing of teaching. It is certainly not something that you can just walk through the doors and expect to do or know it all. I was blessed to have so many excellent teachers in my life and it is because of them that I am where I am today.

After an exciting first day at school, we came home to a sad, but not totally unexpected surprise. For the past few months the health of our 16-year old cat, Dreyfus, had slowly been declining. After several visits with the veterinarian, the decision was made to end his suffering.

I guess the old boy had other plans. After coming through the door, our other cat was meowing and acting different. I feared the worst and my suspicions were true. After telling my wife, we sat the girls down to tell them about Dreyfus.

I have lost pets before, but Dreyfus had been with me longer than any other.

Dreyfus had a rough and gruff exterior, but was a gentle soul deep down inside. He had attitude, swagger and was a fighter. He was the only cat I ever had that liked to eat Pringles and French fries, but most of all, he was my buddy.

We will miss him, but very glad he is no longer suffering.

It was an emotional day for us all with the beginning of one exciting chapter and the sad ending to another.

Kalamazoo Wings announce affiliations

September 29, 2013 by Mark McGlothlen · Leave a Comment 

KALAMAZOO, MI – What do the Vancouver Canucks and the St. Louis Blues of the National Hockey League have in common?

Both teams will be affiliated with the Kalamazoo Wings for the 2013-14 season.

While the Canucks and K-Wings renewed their agreement, the addition of the Blues marks the fourth time in the past five seasons that the K-Wings have had a dual affiliation.

In addition, the two deals include partnerships with both clubs AHL teams, the Utica Comets (Vancouver) and the Chicago Wolves (St. Louis). Under the agreement, Vancouver, St. Louis, Utica and Chicago will have the ability to assign players to Kalamazoo.

“We are excited to extend our partnership with an elite organization like the Vancouver Canucks,” said K-Wings Head Coach Nick Bootland. “Vancouver does an outstanding job in communicating with our organization which leads to the aid and growth of their prospects.”

The Canucks are excited to remain with the K-Wings for the third straight year.

“We’re looking forward to continuing our partnership with the Kalamazoo Wings,” said Canucks President and General Manager Michael D. Gillis. “We’ve been pleased with the support and development of a number of our players with the K-Wings. We look forward to continue working with this great organization as an important juncture in our prospects’ careers.”

For the Blues, keeping close ties on their players is one key factor in joining forces with the K-Wings.

“Wendell Young and the Chicago Wolves introduced us to Kevin McDonald and the St Louis Blues and upon introduction we realized our organizations had similar values,” said Bootland. “By having an affiliation based entirely in the Midwest, the Blues will be able to keep a close eye on their prospects.”

The K-Wings have ties with the Blues as current head coach Ken Hitchcock coached the K-Wings from 1993-96. When Hitchcock was coach of the Dallas Stars and won the Stanley Cup, he brought it to Kalamazoo for the fans to see. Eric Bechtol, the K-Wings Equipment Manager worked for the Blues in the same capacity for nine seasons from 1996-2004.

“The St. Louis Blues are excited to begin a new development agreement with the Kalamazoo Wings,” said St. Louis Blues Assistant General Manager, Kevin McDonald. “Nick Bootland and the Wings have had a great deal of success developing players with our AHL affiliate in Chicago, and we are proud to be joining them as we strive to develop future St. Louis Blues players.”

Young, who has made several visits to Wings Stadium over the past few seasons, is confident that the organizations players are in good hands.

“We are pleased to renew our relationship with the Kalamazoo Wings,” said Chicago Wolves general manager Wendell Young. “We are looking forward to our players continuing to learn and develop under Kalamazoo head coach Nick Bootland”

MVP goaltender Martin returning to K-Wings

September 29, 2013 by Mark McGlothlen · Leave a Comment 

KALAMAZOO, MI – Last season did not go as planned for the Kalamazoo Wings, but one of the few bright spots is coming back for another season.

The K-Wings announced yesterday that goaltender Joel Martin, last season’s team MVP, is returning to the team for his fifth season.

Turning in a stellar year for the K-Wings, Martin also added his name to the K-Wings ECHL record book in several different areas. In addition to allowing the fewest goals per game (2.70), Martin also set a record making 63 appearances, playing 3,739 minutes, accumulating 31 victories and making 2,051 saves for a save percentage of 0.924.

“Joel’s conditioning and competiveness gives our team a chance to win every night,” said head coach Nick Bootland in a statement released by the team. “His play between the pipes was one of the main reasons we had a chance for a post-season berth last season.”

Martin played in 39 consecutive games from November 23, 2012-February 23, 2013, which is a rarity among goaltenders in any league. Martin made 40 saves or more in 11 games, including four games in which he stopped 46 shots, which tied his own K-Wing record.

Another familiar face will be joining Martin on the ice this season as defenseman Mike Matczak returns for his third season with the K-Wings.

Matczak played in just 23 games for the K-Wings last season before being called up to the AHL where he spent time with both the Manchester Monarchs and Abbotsford Heat.

“Mike is a young defenseman that is continuing to develop his overall game,” said Bootland. “In his time in the AHL, he showed he has the poise to play in all situations.”

In addition to Martin and Matczak, the K-Wings roster stands at 13 players. The 40th season of K-Wings hockey kicks off on Saturday October 19th when the K-wings travel to Evansville, Indiana to take on the IceMen.

K-Wings get offensive; roster expands to 11

September 29, 2013 by Mark McGlothlen · Leave a Comment 

KALAMAZOO – The Kalamazoo Wings roster continues to grow with the latest installment of announced signings.

Bryan Cameron, Ryan Del Monte, Yanni Gourde and Ian Saab have all inked deals with the K-Wings for the upcoming season.

Cameron spent last season in the ECHL playing for both the San Francisco Bulls and Utah Grizzlies where he scored a combined 20 goals and 27 assists.

Picked in the third round (82nd overall) of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, Cameron got his start with the Abbotsford Heat of the AHL during the 2010-11 season.

“Bryan is a player that knows how to pay the price to score goals,” said head coach Nick Bootland, in a statement released by the team on Thursday. “He is a hardworking player that has a very high hockey IQ.”

Splitting his time last season with the Worcester Sharks of the AHL and the San Francisco Bulls, Gourde is set to begin his second season as a pro with the K-Wings.

In just 10 games with the Bulls, Gourde scored four goals and six assists. Spending most of the season with the Sharks, Gourde scored eight goals and six assists in 41 games.

“Yanni is a playmaker that goes into the tough areas of the ice and battles,” said Bootland. “He is a dynamic player that will be used in all situations.”

Del Monte was signed by the K-Wings before the 2011-12 season but never played a single game with the team. Instead, Del Monte attended training camp with the Worcester Sharks of the AHL, earning a spot and spending the entire season with the team.

Spending last season in Germany playing for the Rosenheim Star Bulls, Del Monte scored 10 goals and 20 assists in 42 games.

“Ryan brings championship experience,” said Bootland. “He has played in a lot of the top leagues of our sport and his experience will be an asset to our team.”

Del Monte was a member of the 2010 Kelly Cup Champions Cincinnati Cyclones.

Rounding out the signings is Saab, a defenseman, who will be playing in his first full season as a professional. Saab played in eight games last season in Austria.

“Ian is a scrappy defenseman that has the tools to be an all around player,” said Bootland. “He knows how to stick up for his teammates and he knows how to protect the crease.”

Saab started his junior career in the Maritime Junior Hockey League (MJAHL) playing for the Halifax Lions. Following his time with the Lions, Saab spent four seasons in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) splitting time with the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles, Lewiston MAINEiacs and the St. John Sea Dogs.

K-Wings roster grows by four

September 3, 2013 by Mark McGlothlen · Leave a Comment 

KALAMAZOO — As the 40th season of Kalamazoo Wings hockey quickly approaches, the player signings for the upcoming season are slowly coming to light.

Four players, two with previous ties to the K-Wings and two hailing from Michigan, were added to the roster.

Joe Sova, a defenseman, was a member of the K-Wings during the 2011-12 season, but his stay was short-lived. As a prospect of the New Jersey Devils, Sova played only 18 games with the K-Wings before his rights were traded to the Carolina Hurricanes. Sova played the remainder of the season with the Charlotte Checkers of the AHL. Once the regular season ended, Sova headed back to the ECHL to play for Florida Everblades, where he helped them defeat the K-Wings in the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals and capture the Kelly Cup.

“Joe has played some of his best professional hockey in a K-Wings uniform,” said Nick Bootland, director of hockey operations/head coach. “We (K-Wings) know he spent a lot of time during the off-season preparing himself by finding more ways to contribute.”

In his 18 games with the K-Wings, Sova scored two goals and added five assists.

While he only played three games with the K-Wings at the end of last season, defenseman Brandon Martell made an impression on Bootland.

“Brandon showed plenty of potential in his short time with the K-Wings,” said Bootland. “We (K-Wings) are excited to watch him grow in his first full pro season.”

Martell joined the K-Wings following his collegiate career at Ohio State University where he was a three-time scholar athlete and a two-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree.

Ray Kaunisto, a native of Sault Ste. Marie, joins the K-Wings after spending last season with the Colorado Eagles of the ECHL where the forward scored seven goals and 16 assists. Spending the majority of the last three seasons in the AHL, Kaunisto played for the Manchester Monarchs and Saint John’s IceCaps.

“Ray is a fluid skater that plays gritty,” said Bootland. “His big frame allows him to create space for others and himself.”

Kaunisto spent four years playing for Northern Michigan University and signed an entry-level contract with the Los Angeles Kings.

Rounding out the latest group of signings is forward Anthony Maiani, a native of Shelby Township.

Spending last season with the Allen Americans of the CHL, Maiani got his professional start in the ECHL playing for the Chicago Express, Colorado Eagles and South Carolina Stingrays.

In 60 games with the Americans last season, Maiani scored 17 goals and 38 assists in route to helping the Americans capture the CHL Championship.

“Anthony possesses a lot of speed and anticipates the play,” said Bootland. “Last season, he demonstrated a great scoring touch and contributed on a championship team.”

The K-Wings first game of the regular season is Oct. 19 as the K-Wings travel to Evansville, Ind. to take on the IceMen. The home portion of the schedule kicks off the following Saturday as the K-Wings host the IceMen for the 10th Annual Orange Ice Game.

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