The Cottonmouths family suffered two losses over the past couple of weeks. After receiving word that former Cottonmouth Connor MacDonald was killed by a car over Halloween weekend, it was learned yesterday that another former Cottonmouth, Paul Lynch, was found dead at his home yesterday morning. Details of Lynch's death were not known, but we do know he was a young man in good health. Both men were taken from us far too soon.
Connor left the Cottonmouths before I came to Columbus, so I never worked with him. I remember him as the feisty, young scrapper from the Jacksonville Barracudas who dropped the gloves with Dan Leslie every time we played the 'Cudas that year. He was the kind of guy who played the game the way it's supposed to be played. He gave his all every shift of every game. He was a tough competitor who would do whatever it took to win. From all accounts, that was the way he lived his life. He was as kind and generous off the ice as he was tenacious on it. I don't think anybody had an unkind word to say about him.
Paul was with the Cottonmouths only briefly during my first season here. He was here for training camp and played a couple of games at the start of the 2007-08 season before being waived. He got picked up by the Knoxville IceBears and was a regular on their Championship-winning team that season. I didn't know much about him except that he had been out of hockey for a couple of years before coming to the SPHL to resume his career. But he always treated me with respect as he did everyone else around him. He was a good guy.
There's an expression in hockey-"Once a teammate, always a teammate". Hockey is a small world. Your best friend one season might be your sworn mortal enemy the next...on the ice. Once the final buzzer sounds, he's your best friend once again. Because of this maxim, the hockey community is extraordinarily close. Even though I didn't know Connor or Paul very well, I still feel a sense of loss at their passing. But more than that, I feel empathy for their friends and family who now must try to fill the void in their lives. My condolences to all of you.