Homage to the Ultimate Hockey Mom


There are a lot of things that make us love the game of hockey. We all have our own reasons, from a family tradition, to our favorite players and teams. And while we have these, I feel compelled to share mine.

As a young kid, I was always the smallest in my class. I was constantly teased by others for not getting involved in team sports. My family knew how it bothered me to no end. When I was eight year old, after begging incessantly for what seemed to be an eternity, my mother got me an old pair of Daoust skates and a Canadiens’ jersey as a birthday present at garage sale. Even though they only cost her a couple of bucks, the value meant nothing to me. My dream of becoming a hockey player had begun.

As one could imagine, the first time I tried to skate, my ankles were pretty weak, so I had a tough time learning to skate. My mom took me to a pond every Saturday to skate while she did her grocery shopping at a nearby Steinberg’s. Imagine her surprise when just a couple of weeks later, looking for a puny kid struggling to stand on the ice, she saw her youngest son, flying around the ice like his childhood idol, Yvan Cournoyer. Even though I used a snow bank to stop, she had a huge smile on her face and a tear in her eye.

I wasn’t long after that she took me to a small sporting goods store to outfit me for a set of hockey gear. Everything was perfect, from the helmet to the shin guards. While the only mistake she made was buying a right-handed, instead of left-handed stick, I could care less. I was going to be a hockey player, and that all I ever wanted.

During that first season, because my parents didn’t drive, we walked to the local arena together for every practice and every game. I carried my stick, while my mom carried my hockey bag, because it was bigger than I was. She helped dress me up, tightened my skates, and watched with pride as her little “RoadRunner” hit the ice. She watched every practice and every game. While she was quick to critique mistakes I made during games, she was always my biggest fan. I scored but a single goal that first season. When I did, I looked up to the stands, and saw my mom crying and cheering all at the same time. It was one of the proudest moments of my young life.

As I progressed through the years, she always wanted to know how things went every weekend. Through the highs and lows, she always lent an attentive ear, and listened with great enthusiasm to my weekly reports.

And what could be said about our Saturday night at home. My brothers and I always got together to watch Hockey Night in Canada in front of the TV in our living room. While we lay on our stomachs on the floor, as to not block my dad’s view, she made sure to have snacks ready for our game nights. Whenever the Habs scored, the three of us shot up to our feet, and gave my mom a head rub in celebration, making a mess of her hair. And she loved every minute of it.

This past Saturday, April 2nd, two days after her 79th birthday, my mom lost a 15 year battle with respiratory disease. We, her kids, were all at her side while she expelled her last breath. And while I write this story with a heavy heart, I write it as a thank you to her, for giving me life, giving me love and giving me hockey. She taught me, more than any coach could ever teach, that I could do anything on the ice as long as I believed I could do it.

Thanks, mom.