I was recently invited by the teachers at Englewood School, in Crapaud, PEI, to be one of the guest speakers at the launch of their pilot project to use blogging in their language arts classes.

The idea is to engage their junior high students in transactional writing via blogs, which would be a great way to promote  literacy among today’s youth.

Given the opportunity to shape young minds (for good, rather than evil),  I was pleased to accept the invitation, providing me a bit of a welcome  break from covering the NHL lockout,

It’s been several years since I engaged in public speaking, so I was a bit nervous, but quickly shook off the rust. For about 15 minutes, I spoke to the students and teachers about my longtime love of writing, my inspirations, the origins of Spector’s Hockey, and how it led to a career as a free lance NHL columnist and blogger.

Most importantly, I stressed the joy of writing, and how it can be an enjoyable, fulfilling experience. The students were fully engaged and asked plenty of questions, some about blogging, most about the NHL. It was delightful talking to students about a subject dear to my heart, and I hope to contribute in some way to their blogging project in the near future.

Throughout my visit to Englewood School, however, one question was repeatedly asked of me: “Do you think the NHL lockout will end soon?”

My response always began with “hopefully”, then stating my “gut feeling” the two sides might work something out before the end of November.

It’s a response I’ve become used to giving out only a few times throughout the course of a day. A reader will seek my opinion via e-mail, the comment section of one of the posts on my site, or social media. The topic inevitably comes up whenever I meet with family and friends.

This, however, was the first time I was asked by a much larger group of people, in one place at one time. It surprised me how many teachers and students – especially students – were hoping for an end to the lockout.

Of course, I shouldn’t have been surprised. This is Prince Edward Island, one of the most hockey-mad provinces in the most hockey-mad country on earth.

I’ve heard from a number of hockey fans during this lockout claiming they’re done with the NHL, fed up with the greed on both sides, tired of the lockout news, and vowing they’ll never return whenever the league returns to action. I have no reason to doubt their sincerity.

It was obvious, however, the students at Englewood School didn’t feel the same way. These teenagers weren’t interested in the business side of the sport. They don’t care about the money, or which side is more to blame for the lockout. They simply miss the NHL, and want it back.

Here’s hoping their wish will be granted soon.