So I see Guy Dupuis is retiring after 14 seasons as a Fort Wayne Komet and 21 as a professional hockey player, which can mean only one thing.
I guess it's time to forgive for that beer he dumped on my head.
Also for the second beer he dumped on my head.
It was the night the Komets won the Turner Cup back in 2008, and I (stupidly) wandered into the locker room an hour or so into the celebration, so I pretty much got what was coming. And since it was Dupuis, getting mad about it wasn't an option anyway.
You have to know the man to know there was never any malice in his heart, at least not while I was around. We had this running joke between us: Every year I'd show up for training camp to do the obligatory beginning-of-a-new-season column, and every year Guy would grin and say, "See you in the playoffs." Because usually I was otherwise occupied until then.
What occurs to me now that I won't be seeing him at either training camp or the playoffs is how everyone always uses the same phrase to describe him: "Class act." It's overused to the point of being meaningless, sometimes, but in Guy's case it fits perfectly. He is a class act.
Win or lose, bad game or good, he never refused an interview, even on those occasions when the last person on earth he undoubtedly wanted to see coming was a reporter with a tape recorder.
That night in 2008 you could see he was already thinking about the end of his career, and how much he was going to miss all this. It wouldn't happen for another three years, but it was obvious he'd come to the stage of his career where the end of every season was a reminder that the end, period, was a lot closer now than the beginning.
Tuesday, he finally walked away. And you can't do anything but wish the man good luck.
Or, just for the French-Canadian in him: Bonne chance.