In October 2002, I experienced a family hockey moment very unique and precious to my family. It was the last year of the British Superleague, in a game between the London Knights and the Sheffield Steelers. Former NHL tough guy Paul Kruse was suited up for Sheffield. I tell you this to reassure you this is a family friendly story, as I was not about to mess with a team that had him on it. Bumping into him hurt, so I can’t image what dropping the gloves would have felt like. Lined up on Paul’s other wing was a familiar face; it was my brother Boe. We had played with each other in Europe, but never against each other. To make the night more interesting, my Mom was sitting twenty rows up behind our bench, wondering for whom she should cheer. I have a suspicion she was rooting for London, because her husband Bob, my father, was coaching us. Would you believe that we tied 2-2? At times I found myself cheering for Sheffield, either because I have always wanted to see my brother succeed, or perhaps because I was simply afraid of upsetting Paul Kruse.
The previous year we actually had a chance to all be together in the Anschutz Cup as members of the London Knights, before Boe signed and moved on to Sheffield. There aren’t many families in hockey that have been able to experience nights like those, and we’ll never forget them.
They say a family that golf or hikes together is a family that stays together. I propose “a family that shares a love and understanding of hockey stays together.” Despite, so much family time and money invested in hockey around our country, we often hear how little, many parents actually understand about the game. From that position grew our latest online project, How to Play Hockey. We want parents using our site to learn about the game, enabling them to engage in thoughtful and meaningful conversations with their kids about the game of hockey. A family that learns together, must have a great chance of staying together. How to Play Hockey is a membership based website breaking down the game into an easy to follow curriculum of 5-10 minute videos about the tactics, systems, and skills required to truly understand that game. In short, I think it’s everything I know about the game of hockey. There are currently 100+ videos in our curriculum, and we’ll continue to build it over time.
My family owes a great deal to the game of hockey. We have traveled the world playing and coaching, learned new languages, and have gained a very global perspective. Currently my brother runs a hockey program in Baltimore, Maryland, I run my development company in Vancouver and my father has recently transitioned from a life in professional hockey and now shares his experiences through corporate leadership training around the world with Leslie Global Leadership. Upon moving to Switzerland 25 years ago while my father chased his coaching dreams, my mother has now spent nearly 20 years teaching in International Schools in Switzerland and Germany.
Hockey has given us all an incredibly rewarding quality of life, to say the least. From the time I was a kid, and still today, conversations around the dinner table revolve around the game of hockey in one way or another. The teaching and hockey knowledge my brother and I gained by having parents that are teachers and coaches is perhaps their greatest gift to us.