September 11th, 2002

6:46 AM, MST Remembers

Hockey was the last thing on anyone's mind


by Rick Charlton

Within minutes of Mohammed Atta propelling American Airlines Flight 11, a Boeing 767, into New York's World Trade Tower One at 6:46 a.m. our time one year ago today, the news had been posted on the messageboard.

That single note would launch a dizzying outpouring of emotional debate which would come to dominate our humble part of cyberspace for the better part of three weeks.

So overpowering were the momentous events taking shape around us that the impending NHL pre-season was virtually forgotten, a few feeble attempts to return to hockey related chatter quickly overwhelmed by the simple need to express the variety of emotions which many, nay, all of us were feeling.

And, as it turned out, this website was no different than any other in that regard.

As the hours and then days began to pass, journalists noted a peculiar trend developing across the internet.

Messageboards and chat sites, normally devoted to topics ranging from pets to auto repair,, where people had come to know each other from regular posting, were all quickly taken over by a single but similar topic, the 9/11 attacks.

The phenomenon could be summed up in very few words - people needed to talk, to pour out their anger and their sorrow.

And here at, as did those at other sites, among people who had likely never met each other, from varied parts of the globe, we began to reveal points of view that others might never have suspected of us previously.

If our grouping represents a normal demographic, should we have been surprised there were war mongers among us, those who wanted to see some country, any country, flat and black and glowing all over by the time the sun set over the yardarm that very day.

There were the pacifists, those who were repelled at any thought of retaliation, who instead wanted to open a dialogue to bridge the gap of misunderstanding between two divergent cultures. Two wrongs, they argued, could never make a right.

Some were in the middle, cautioning a response was necessary, but reasoned and limited.

Others stepped forward to say the attacks, while reprehensible, were the least the USA could have expected given its alleged crimes meddling in the affairs of other countries.

And through it all, the conspiracy theorists began to weave their machinations. The body count was being deliberately understated they said. The CIA had to be involved somehow said others.

With such a wide range of opinion, conflict became inevitable.

The debate raged for days and then weeks with personal attacks common, perhaps not unlike a normal hockey debate, but somehow coming across as far more serious given the context of the WTC attacks.

And then gradually, hockey talk began to creep back onto the board, slowly but surely.

But it would be almost three weeks before our community would begin to return to some semblance of normalcy.

With the start of a newer version of Calgarypuck and the "Off-Topic Board" a few months later, the political debate, which had never really died given the events in Afghanistan, shifted to a more isolated forum. There it would periodically die out and then burst forward anew, including one epic 300 post, 3000 hit extravaganza that dominated the month of March.

And today, one year later, at this hour, we remember.

Some for different reasons than others.


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