Director’s Note: Hockey Mom, Hockey Dad

Feb 14, 2007

I was more of a pond rat than a rink rat.
Across the street from where I grew up there was a huge pond that was used by the government for raising trout. Every winter I would cut a hole in the ice and flood the surface to create my very own hockey rink. I have fond memories of playing hockey with my Mom, (she was a great hockey player and played in a ladies league). On Sundays all the local farmers and their sons and daughters would come from miles around to play some pick-up hockey on a sunny winter afternoon. Sometimes, when there was a full moon, we would play until two or three in the morning.
I was fortunate to see the great players of my era: Bobby Orr, Gerry Cheavers, Phil & Tony Esposito, Bobby Clarke, Reggie Leach, as well as all the great Habs: Guy Lafleur, Ken Dryden, Serge Savard, Yvan Cournoyer and Larry Robinson.  I saw Montreal win all five of those Cups in the late seventies and I was able to see many, many games in the old Montreal Forum.  What a glorious age of hockey for a young boy to experience.
One summer during my Howie Meeker hockey school camp I was leaning on my stick like Ken Dryden and Howie Meeker threw his stick at my head and it hit me.  And then he said “when your as good as Ken Dryden, then you can lean on your stick, otherwise I’m gonna throw my stick at you”.  Nothing like having your hero throw his stick at you.
I played hockey for my hometown, my high school, and the local all-star team. Our all-star team used to travel to the States to play tournaments and, more often than not, we would win -many times against larger and bigger teams. We were ‘tough’ players (watching the ‘Broad Street Bullies’ had had an impact on all of us), but as I moved up to Midget, fighting would happen more often in the stands than on the ice.
I have come to realize while working on this play just how much Hockey has shaped my life and my sense of playing on a team and being part of a team, part of something bigger.  To dig deep inside yourself when your dog tired, to overcome your fears and your insecurities and to take that puck back down the ice and make plays with your friends and teammates, to score, to win, and to lose.
As Wayne Gretzky said to Mark Messier in The Boys on the Bus documentary – “You really want to know what I think about when I’m out there on the ice, Mark?  It’s my puck, and if you want to play, get your own.”