Whether you are an elite professional hockey player or someone who plays shinny once a week for fun, we all have one thing in common: a love for the game.
Growing up I was very lucky to have the most supportive parents a child could ask for. Never once was I pressured into playing hockey, going to extra camps, or anything that I didn’t want to do myself. That is without a doubt the reason that I still love being on the ice as much to this day as I did as a ten year old on the frozen lake. It’s disappointing to see kids now that get put in all these camps that they don’t want to be at, just because they have parents that want them to be the best. And for a large majority, it is the kids that want to be there, but for the few that are there just because it’s what mom or dad want, they will be the ones that stop playing and stop loving the game at an earlier age.
I always say that kids should take time away from the rink, play other sports and enjoy time with friends. Some of my best friends who are very successful pro hockey players right now are guys who played other sports and enjoyed their time off from hockey. For me, I loved playing lacrosse and just being a kid playing around my neighbourhood. For every bad hockey parent story you hear, there are a hundred great ones.
Parents that encourage their kids to do what makes them happy, parents that provide whatever resource they can to help their kids do that, and parents that push their kids to be their best but never cross the line. I can remember countless times being half asleep at 5:30 in the morning in the passenger seat at my mom or dad made a stop at Tim Horton’s on the way to my early morning practice, and that’s just one of many examples I have.
No matter what I’m doing, I’m a very competitive person and most people would assume I get it from my dad as he was a professional hockey player as well as golfer, and that’s definitely true, but I really get my competitive edge from my mom. She is a phenomenal woman who has always inspired me to be my best and work my hardest, not to mention countless other traits that have made me who I am today.
My parents are my heroes and I always aim to make them proud, as they have given my siblings and I the world.
The game of hockey has brought me even closer to them as we have been able to do so much through it, from going on trips to Europe with each of them, to them being with me when my team won the Memorial Cup. Even more important than great moments like these, however, are that they have been there to bring me up in all of the low points in my career, which there have been plenty of and surely will be plenty more of in the future.
Currently, it’s pretty cool to be following in my Dad’s footsteps as a student athlete at the University of Lethbridge. That’s something I am very proud of and it really does feel like an honour to have the opportunity to be like him. So to all the amazing hockey moms and dads out there, thank you for everything you do. Thank you for inspiring and allowing the game of hockey to bring your children closer to others, to teach them about life, and thank you for allowing the love of the game to keep burning inside them.