Dear Hockey Dads,
What can you say about a life defined by hockey. A life dictated by hockey. A life dedicated to hockey and a life dedicated to each other.
Looking back on it all, it becomes so much clearer now. No matter what year it was, what season it was, what team it was— We were the most important team in my life. A lot of things changed over the years, the sweater on my back changed, the faces in the room changed, the car we drove to games in changed. But there was always one thing that never changed and that was you dad.
Heading out every weekend on a new challenge—a new mission. It wasn’t a ritual, it was our life. You taught me to dedicate myself to the game, and in turn without realizing it we dedicated ourselves to each other. We dedicated ourselves to the road and rink. I dedicated myself to my skating, my shot, my teammates and my friends. But you, what did you have to dedicate yourself to? You dedicated yourself to me, nothing more nothing less. You never worked on getting your shot better you worked on making the backyard rink better. You never worked on making your stride better, you worked on tying my skates just a little bit better.
As I have gotten older and moved on from the game, I now realize how much I must have meant to you. I have always known how much you meant to me. That was something I could always feel, I might not have shown it or let you know it at the time but it was there.
When I think about it though, I never knew what you were doing during all of this– that is until now. And it makes all the difference, it’s the foundation for a new found love and respect that I have for you and hockey dads everywhere. What game were you playing? What was your goal? Where was your fun? After looking back I finally found the answer—it was me. I was your team, my happiness was your goal. That’s all it was, simple and pure. You’re the one who had to worry about getting me there on time. You’re the one who had to make sure I had enough to eat. You’re the one who had to work overtime so that there was always enough gas was the tank. You’re the one who had to sacrifice every weekend to stand on the glass and endure the freezing cold. All in the name of my happiness and the opportunity for me to chase my dream.
You’d think looking back, it would be all the on ice memories that took center stage. All those championship teams and amazing victories, but no. Those rides to and from the rink are what stand out the most. The ride home was always when I would feel the most proud. The congratulations that I would receive after the game from other parents, players or coaches didn’t matter. It was all about hearing the congratulations from you on our ride home. Going over all the great plays and memorable moments from the game was always my highlight, it turns out that’s all I was playing for.
So this Father’s Day I say “Thanks Dad”. Thanks for being a great dad, thanks for being a great hockey dad, thanks for being a great teammate.