This has been a rather crappy NHL offseason. If there’s been another in my lifetime that’s been this bad from a guys dying young standpoint, I cant’ remember it.
As a Leafs fan, this one is particularly sad. I always enjoyed Belak. He wasn’t going to score a million goals or skate circles around anybody, but there was something about him that made him really easy to root for. I’d describe him as one of the nicest guys you could ever have cave in your skull at a moment’s notice.
My favourite Belak memory is that time he scored his goal. It was memorable not only because he didn’t score many of them, but also because scoring it cost him a record. Had he not potted one in December 2007 against Nashville, odds are he would have broken the Leafs record for games without a goal. He hadn’t scored since 2003. I’ll never forget watching it go in or the celebration that followed it. I had no choice but to jump up and cheer along with everybody else because man, that was awesome. You can see video of it here. Yeah, it still gets me.
You’ll be missed, Wade.