This is a good time to say “thanks” to all those hockey dads, and to recognize the power of the hockey dad
By Allyson Tufts
Continuing our series on “Never Underestimate the Power of Hockey,” I’m excited to be concluding with a subject close to my heart…on the power of the hockey dad!
If I had to pinpoint what made me fall in love with hockey, I would credit my father for that. Some of my favorite memories of my childhood were spent watching him skate on our backyard rink.
As the youngest daughter in a family of 9, I had what you might call older parents. I’m ashamed to say that in grade school it always bothered me that my dad was the only one with gray hair, when the other dads looked so much younger than him. Don’t get me wrong; he was always well-dressed, with his hair combed perfectly because he carried a comb in his back pocket, and he smelled of Old Spice. To this day, the smell of that cologne brings a smile to my face every time I’m blessed to get a little whiff of it.
My dad was raised in the country and never played any organized sports, but he was a great athlete. I remember one day, when my sister brought her boyfriend home to meet my parents. He was flying around our backyard rink, trying to impress her by showing her how fast he could skate.
It wasn’t long before my dad was joining him for a game of shinny. My sister’s boyfriend foolishly decided he’d give my dad a friendly shove, after which my father simply skated away from him. But as the game went on, I watched as Dad waited for just the right moment.
I could see the sparkle in his eyes as he picked up speed and his skates began making that familiar slicing sound on the ice. When he reached my sister’s boyfriend, with a twinkle in his eye he gave him a little shove that sent him flying into a snow bank. Suddenly my father, who always looked older to me, now looked like a mischievous teenager. His cheeks were all rosy and he had an expression of complete victory on his face.
I guess for me that’s where my love affair with hockey started. I loved how hockey brought out the kid in my dad, and made me realize the power of the hockey dad.
Here is an excerpt from my book that I dedicated to him. So in honor of Father’s Day this one’s for you, Dad…
“As soon as the weather got cold enough, my father would spend hours flooding our backyard rink to make sure it was perfect for all of us. I remember standing on my bed watching from behind the frosted glass of my bedroom window as he flooded the ice late at night, its vision forever etched in my mind.
“I can recall what the water sounded like hitting the ice. I could barely make out my dad’s features but I knew he was relaxed, perhaps envisioning that one of his boys would make it to the NHL with all they’d learn on this rink he built. I watched him in his big work coat, trying to keep warm as the condensation of his breath filled the air. At the time, he worked long hours driving trucks for an oil company but he always found time to flood the ice, regardless of how many hours he’d been on the road.
“I loved looking out the window on those cold nights. I’d spend most of my time wiping my breath from the window, trying to get a glimpse of my dad. On really cold nights, all I could see was his shadow, but I loved the view just the same. Watching him flood our rink late at night was a vision of a man completely satisfied in his life. He loved his wife, his children, his quiet time flooding that rink—and he loved hockey; he was a rich man in my mind.”My Favorite Hockey Player Calls Me Dad T Shirt Hockey Dad
I’d bet there are so many incredible stories of hockey dads and their influence on their young players. I can think of the many stories of my husband and son, filled with moments I know they won’t forget. With each new generation we get the new gift of stories. Fathers get the chance to show their children what they learned from their own dads, and the tradition continues.
There is nothing more special to me than when I see my son skate onto the ice with that familiar twinkle in his eye, and the same expression I saw many years ago with my dad. It’s like they are skating together. For those brief moments, hockey brings me back to being a kid, watching my father on our backyard rink.
Now that Father’s Day is here, please take the time to tell your dad about the memories he’s given you. And most importantly, take the time to thank him. I’d give anything to be able to wish my dad a Happy Father’s Day. But I’ll have to send those thoughts up to heaven.
So for me, this is my card to him and to all you hockey dads. Don’t ever underestimate the power of a hockey Dad!
Allyson Tufts is the author of Lessons from Behind the Glass. This article is the property of Allyson Tufts, and is not to be used without her permission. To learn more about Allyson Tufts or to purchase her book, please visit lessonsfrombehindtheglass.com.