On a crisp fall afternoon, many Cups ago, the greatest hockey Mom of all time placed a call to a rink in Connecticut…”After practice please tell Coach that I’ve gone into labor and to meet me at the hospital, but only AFTER practice, don’t bother him before it’s over”. Coach Sr. (my father) headed over to the hospital, excited to meet his third son, Hans (named for my great-grandfather), who he had informed many coaches to “keep an eye out, this boy is already huge and he’s not even born yet; he’ll make a killer Dman”. Coach Sr.’s fifth child did not disappoint in the size department however there was a tiny SNAFU…I was a girl.
Didn’t they get an ultrasound? You may ask…I have asked this question many times before only to be snubbed…he was convinced it was a boy (your mother never carried so big), didn’t need silly doctors telling him otherwise. At 5’ 9” I do have good size and still every now and then when someone points out my height and size my old man will mumble “would have made a great dman…great size”…I laugh it off…what can I do?
Bobby Hull said, “We have to get families back in the game, get back where Saturday night, everything stops. A case of beer comes out and a bottle of rye and anyone who comes to the house, they better want to watch hockey”. If you do stop by Coach Sr.’s house you better be able to talk puck…or you’ll end up in the kitchen with the women and children and I learned at a very young age that I hated doing dishes. My brothers, who were 12 and 13 when I was born, made it their mission to prevent anyone from speaking to me as they were determined that my first word would be “hockey” and they indeed succeeded. I was in a rink before I was a week old and all of my clothing and accessories were the colors of whatever teams my brothers were playing for or my Dad was coaching. Family vacations were out of state games or trips to see my brother play in prep school and college and even though I wasn’t even born yet, I am told that the reason we don’t go to Montreal is because Coach Sr. got in a fight in the early 80s with a French Canadian coach and a French Canadian Referee because he felt they were in “cahoots” and the calls were rigged (he’s never taken well to losing). Still to this day if I mention a potential club player, or friend, or God forbid boyfriend and say he’s Canadian, Coach Sr. immediately asks “he’s not French Canadian? Because you know they get all the calls” (he also tends to hold a grudge). Side bar: I love all Canadians…French and otherwise!
Life lessons always came in the form of hockey coaching, I remember confiding in Coach Sr. once about some issues I was having with self doubt and taking a leap in my personal and professional life…some serious father-daughter stuff. Sitting in the den, in front of the television, he flipped a game on, there was a break away and a beautiful goal…I don’t remember the player or team, but I do remember what he said, “you always want to skate where the puck is going to be, not where it has been…always keep your head up, if you look down you’ll miss the potential for good pass or shot”. It was a re-invention of a Gretzky quote, but the message was clear, he was telling me to look ahead for potential success, not behind me at the past failures. He later shared another bit of advice from The Great One, “You miss 100% of the shots you never take”, meaning, go for it, take a chance in life, you’ll never succeed if you don’t at least give it a try. You can say he’s an Original Beauty.
Some people might say its just a game, but when my grandmother was ill, Coach Sr. was having a very difficult time. Everyday his phone was ringing off the hook with concerned family and friends looking for the latest updates on Grammy’s status. Luckily, this was happening during the NHL season. Why lucky? Because everyday Coach Sr. would see my number pop up on the caller i.d. and know that for the next 60 minutes he wouldn’t have to talk about his dying mother, instead he would talk to his daughter about how the Red Wings would win the Cup with their strong Swedish roster or about why the Bruins would fall short in the playoffs yet again. Its been over four years since those conversations started and after Grammy passed away, at the funeral, Coach Sr. asked me “will you still call me tomorrow?” and I have every day since. When my own Mother, the greatest hockey Mom of all time, was diagnosed with Cancer, I called Coach Sr. and simply said, “How ‘bout those Bruins, Thomas is an animal”, he knew what that meant and returned the favor.
Trailer Park Boys
The Office (British)
Game of Thrones
Its Always Sunny...
"Success is getting what you want; happiness is wanting what you get" - Ingrid Bergman
"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit" - Aristotle
"Its a great day for hockey" - Bob Johnson