I got to talking to our neighbours at the weekend about hockey and the shelf life of a hockey player. Where I told them about the training, the commitment to the game and to the sacrifices I make for it and everything else, the true meaning of the latter didn’t hit me till later. After I got back home and sat down, at an empty house, I realised that the sacrifices I make for the game are nothing compared to the sacrifices my family makes to enable me to play.
As a head of a young family, hockey is taking me away most weekends and it means that my son and wife are without me for a number of hours per game-day. That combined with the work that I put in at the gym (OK when I go to the gym, my son is usually asleep). It takes time away from the ones that mean the most to you.
Where the start of this might read like one of those “I retire” post, it’s not that, far from it. It has taken me a while to realise how fortunate I am to have this opportunity to play the game I have been in love with since I was a little boy. I get to play for the team I love with a great bunch of guys and I wouldn’t trade that for anything.
What I am saying is that I am grateful and appreciate the sacrifices my family makes for me to be able to do this. I guess it adds to the humbleness of hockey players. They know that their jobs are tough and take away a lot of time from the family, but they understand that their families live the game with them. They, or rather we, understand how important it is to spend as much quality time with our respective families as possible.
When dealing with injury the support of your family is important. It’s not easy to do things around the house when you’ve got a busted knee, back, shoulder, head or foot. Yes as a player, you do take some sort of pride in the pain, but to your significant other has to carry the load. They are the ones that have to put up with our quirks and routines we like to observe for game days.
Where the life of a hockey player doesn’t end at the final buzzer of a game or the season and as the game develops, it is increasingly important to work on conditioning during the time between games and training. Summers are full of work too, but you have more time for the family and I view that it is the time to make up for the time and dedicate yourself to the routines of family life.
We sacrifice as players, for our team and for the chance to win something big during our careers, but the families (be it wives, kids, girlfriends, boyfriends, moms or dads) sacrifice the most out of all of us and we should be eternally grateful to have those special people in our lives that make it possible for us to lace up our skates.
So in short, to my family, thank you for the sacrifices that you make for me.