Where would all of us hockey players be without mom?
More than likely we would be starving, late for practice and missing a skate or glove. Nothing runs smoothly unless mom somehow has a hand in making sure everyone is fed and with some sort of transport to and from the rink. Moms are usually the glue that holds families together and in the case of a hockey playing family they’re the glue, staples, and duct tape that make it all work so seamlessly. You really can’t appreciate how much moms do until you have kids of your own. I look back to when I was a kid and for the life of me can’t recall my mom ever scrambling around last minute to find a shin guard or directions to the tournament. Everything seemed to run so smoothly. I’m sure it wasn’t easy…in fact I know it wasn’t…but she certainly made it all look easy. Moms do it without asking for anything in return other than seeing their kids rosy cheeks, messy hair and huge smile on their face after they get off the ice.
Speaking of getting nothing in return…I’m reminded of my days in professional hockey, as most of you know NHL training camps happen every September – unless of course, there’s a lockout. So, in Non-Lockout seasons September can be a very stressful month for aspiring NHL’ers. It can be especially stressful for journeyman players like you know whom. Every day at training camp is a battle both mentally and physically. When you’re on the ice you are giving all you have to give. When you’re off the ice you’re constantly reviewing in your head what you did wrong. Once you’ve given yourself a thorough review it’s time to start thinking about the next day. Your only goal is to show up the next day at practice and have your equipment hanging in a stall with a jersey beside it. You need to have a laser focus on the mission at hand. It’s almost like you tune out the rest of the world. This is great when you’re the athlete, but not so great when you’re a mom and her birthday happens to be in the middle of September. I can just picture my poor mom sitting by the phone on her birthday waiting for her eldest son to call and wish her a Happy Birthday! Maybe even thank her for all she’s done to allow me the opportunity to pursue my dream of being a professional athlete. Or, at the very least, maybe it’s a message on the answering machine when she was at work that day. Nope. No phone call, no thank you, and no message. In fact, it wasn’t until October that I realized I missed my mom’s birthday. By the way, my mom’s (Eila) birthday is September 20th. I had spoken to her a number of times before and after her birthday but for whatever reasons it just didn’t click with me. I’m sure my dad took the brunt of the abuse for my amnesia but she never said a word about it to me. When I finally did call and stopped apologizing she never laid a guilt trip on me or anything. She was just happy to know that I was happy. That’s a hockey mom for you.
You would think that would be a “one and done” event and after missing my mom’s birthday once that I would never forget again. You would be wrong. I missed my mom’s birthday every year for my first 5 or 6 years of pro hockey. I’m sorry Eila! I’m a terrible son!
For all you kids out there…don’t ever take mom for granted. If it weren’t for her, hockey wouldn’t be as easy for you. She’s not asking for much…. just an occasional hug and a thank you for all that she does.
To all the Hockey Mom’s out there I’d like to wish you a fantastic Mother’s Day! To my mom, Eila, thank you for everything. Without you I never would have gotten to where I am today!