Hockeybuzz is a very strange and in some ways unique community. A place where all hockey fans can come together. Whether that's a good or bad thing is up for interpretation, but I've always viewed it as a good thing. I've been on a few hockey forums in the past. Yet each one irked me. They always seemed like echo chambers and began to bore me with the repetition and dogma. Hockeybuzz is different and so much more interesting.
It's a place with professional writers, up and coming writers (Look no further than Yost and Engels), amateur writers and James Tanner. A place where posters can spend all day debating the Flyers' state of affairs in Meltzer's well written posts, then immediately go to the Sabres thread and ask questions about potential trade partners. A place where opposing fans can interact in real time as the game goes on. A place where trolls can scamper around twisting peoples tails. A place where bagels can rain from the sky.
A community of hockey fans dedicated to the love of the sport.
It's very easy in this world of anonymity and usernames to forget the humanity of those behind the computer. Who knows who is behind the name? A doctor traveling around the country? A young father with a newborn baby? A crusty old lawyer in New York with control issues? Or a dedicated father of two who has just tragically passed away?
Mike Spittal of Cambridge Ontario passed away on Wednesday February 6th. On Hockeybuzz, he was known as sloppyseconds2. From such a username, you would never know what type of person he was. All you could go on was how he posted. Mike posted in the Leafs thread and only rarely left that part of Hockeybuzz. He'd show up in the main thread every now and again, but he was mostly a Leafs fan through and through.
I can't claim to have known him very well. We've interacted in the same forum for the past six years and I've never read a bad word said against him. He was always polite, even when joking around. His disdain for Dion Phaneuf was a driving force early on in conversations and if you had ever spent any time in the Leafs thread, you'd know it was a great unifier in a polarizing rabid environment.
Those who did know him more personally, not just on Hockeybuzz, but in real life, have expressed what a great person he was.
Hockeybuzz has lost one of their own and his families plight is very real. There is a GoFundMe page put up to help support his family with the issues they are dealing with. They have already met their goal, but I think every little bit counts.
My condolences to the family, his friends and his Hockeybuzz friends. The Leafs thread will miss you.
*I apologize, but the links won't seem to become active