This year, I went to a Canadiens-Bruins game. I didn’t grow up on hockey, so I never really understood the rivalry, but I did after the game. More than just dislike, there was a distinct hatred in the air. Maybe it was because the rivalry represents an international competition. Whatever it was, the shouts and chants were as vicious and audible as I had heard in Boston.
Never had I seen a player be the victim of those chants as much as P.K. Subban. Every time he touched the puck boos echoed. So when I was following the NHL draft, I couldn’t help but laugh when I saw the Bruins selected Malcolm Subban with the 24th overall pick.
I love those type of moves. When the Patriots signed Jake Ballard, I jumped with glee at the trivial jab the Pats took at the Giants. It meant nothing, but why not try to get under a rival’s skin? Isn’t that the point of sports? But both P.K. and Malcolm revealed their true colors as they embraced at the news of Malcolm being selected. There was no apprehension, no moments of half-smiles. P.K. hugged his brother with such authenticity it was impossible to hate him. In that moment, he was a brother, and I think it’s important to keep that sort of perspective.
Grown men spend months trying to find a way to anger and frustrate their rivals, and it never looked as petty as the five seconds P.K. hugged Malcolm. Whatever mind games were being played were irrelevant. A kid who’s wanted to play in the NHL got a chance to do just that. Do you think he cares about rivalries? He worked his whole life to get to that moment, and when it finally came, both of those brothers would be damned if they weren’t going to celebrate vehemently.