Another one, worth your time—Mary Rogan's 2010 GQ story, "Out on the Ice":
Brian Burke is tormented by how much terror you can squeeze into ten seconds. Ten seconds in a car careening into oncoming traffic on a stretch of Indiana highway just shy of the Ohio border. Ten seconds sailing sideways through sheets of falling snow, straight at a reinforced truck. Ten seconds with the same unthinkable ending every time.
The sheriff at the other end of the phone told Burke that his son didn't suffer. The impact fractured the base of Brendan's skull and killed him instantly. In the passenger seat was his friend Mark Reedy. When the cops and paramedics arrived, Brendan's car was so mangled they couldn't tell Mark was inside. Mark was dead, too. Burke pressed the sheriff for more details. He needed to know exactly what happened, even if it added to the nightmare reel in his head.
The sheriff knew he was talking to one of the most powerful men in the National Hockey League. Burke is the general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs, the most storied and lucrative franchise in NHL history. He's a six-foot-two beast of a man, a former minor league player renowned for his fierce temper and heavy hands in a brawl, a Harvard Law graduate and Stanley Cup winner as G.M. of the Anaheim Ducks. In the past thirty years, Burke has blistered through the ranks of NHL management, including a stint as discipline czar for commissioner Gary Bettman. "When he was working for me," Bettman recalls, "there was a picture of him in his office from when he played for the Maine Mariners, with blood all over his face and uniform. I knew this was a good, smart, tough guy with no b.s. about him."
But now the combative G.M. had taken the biggest hit of his life. Lying on the side of the road was his 21-year-old son, who had stunned the hockey world three months earlier when he'd come out as the first openly gay man closely connected to the NHL. Listening to the sheriff's voice down the line, Burke could see Brendan in the snow that was still falling, surrounded by strangers who didn't know a thing about him. He must be so cold, Burke thought, and he could see the furrow in his brow that Brendan always got when he was worried. He could see the paramedics give up and step away, and already ticking in the background were those ten seconds of knee-buckling fear.
[Photo Via: International Business Times]