Good For Michael Bunting. Life Events Are Much More Important.

Oct 30, 2023; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Carolina Hurricanes left wing Michael Bunting (58) celebrates his goal against the Philadelphia Flyers during the second period at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 30, 2023; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Carolina Hurricanes left wing Michael Bunting (58) celebrates his goal against the Philadelphia Flyers during the second period at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports /
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Michael Bunting missed Carolina’s game on Saturday for personal reasons and good for him! Earlier in the week, Bunting posted to Instagram that his grandfather passed away. It can be assumed he missed last night’s game for funeral services for him.

Hopefully this is just another sign that the days of players missing important life events for games are gone for good. A game, no matter how big it is, is not much of an excuse for missing something else, if you think that something else is more important. Births, deaths, graduations, and weddings are things that only happen occasionally. There will be other games. Certainly other games against the New York Islanders.

And while we are handing out kudos, let’s not forget the culture that the Carolina Hurricanes have created. It is apparent that if a player needs a night to focus on their family, they can take it with a fear of losing their spot in the lineup the next game. As we have seen from head coach Rod Brind’Amour, family plays a kingly sized role in life and is as important as anything on the ice.

We saw this last year with Teuvo Teräväinen as well. Only a few of the most hardline pundits and “fun”dits haggled Teräväinen’s while he dealt with the loss of a grandfather in Finland. Even during Jordan Martinooks family troubles a couple seasons ago were recognized and understood.

While we fans look at these players as some form of superhuman athlete, bordering on mythical gods, they are in fact people who have lives away from hockey. Just like us, their life moves along in peaks and valleys. The only difference is, our professional lives don’t roll out in front of tens of thousands of people 2 to 3 times a week. A little grace and empathy never hurt any of us.

Ultimately it is up to the player, and we as fans need to support the decisions they make when it comes to playing or not. Had Bunting decided to play, that needed to be as good a choice as it was for him not to play Saturday night.