On Father's Day, I want to take a fan's look at the dads who raised the stars of the Boston Bruins: men who hosted the Stanley Cup last summer, who encouraged their sons' passion for hockey, who may have been the reason that their sons started playing in the first place. For some players, it was easier to find information on their dads than for others, but here is a focus on some of the Bruins' papa bears. (Click here to read my article from May about Bruins' moms, too.)
Bergeron's father, Gerard Cleary--his son's full name, as engraved in the Cup, is Patrice Bergeron-Cleary--remembers the first time Bergeron tried hockey. He was just five years old and, for the first two months, all he did was sit in the net. Cleary started to worry, told Bergeron there was nothing forcing him to keep playing, and his son eventually took his first strides onto the ice but in his own time. Looking back on it, Cleary figured that Bergeron was just learning how to skate by watching other kids do it first. Plus, once he got out of the net, Cleary said that he fast became one of the best skaters at that rink.
Colin Campbell is in the NHL's front office as director of hockey operations. (He was also league disciplinarian for 13 years before handing the reins to Brendan Shanahan in 2011.) After his own playing career as a defenseman ended, there was a time when he was an assistant coach for the New York Rangers, including when they won the Stanley Cup. During that time, Colin let Gregory hang out around the dressing room, see things behind the scenes and learn what it took the play the game. He also proudly went onto the ice to celebrate his son's Stanley Cup win, regardless of what he thought people might say.
Chara's father Zdenek competed for the old Czechoslovakia in the 1976 Olympics, although his preferred sport was Greco-Roman wrestling. He instilled a sense of discipline in his son when it comes to exercise by making their backyard into a gym and telling little Zdeno to do certain exercises every time he went through it. This discipline appears to have stuck.
Ference's dad, Andrew Sr., is a dentist. Last month, I pointed out that his mom Jane was a doctor and that she may have been called upon to assist her son. With a doctor mom and a dentist dad, a young hockey player is all set when it comes to healing injuries.
Krug wanted to make sure his family was there to see his NHL debut with the Bruins in April. While he was able to get his dad Kyle, along with his mom and his three brothers, to Boston on game day, it did come with a slight issue: his parents were flying from New York to Detroit when he tried to reach them and tell them the news.
Lucic's father, Dobro, came to Canada from Serbia when he was 27 and took up a job as a longshoreman in Vancouver. He always encouraged his son to keep playing hockey, even when he faced a discouraging setback in 2003, and that paid off handsomely when the Bruins won the Stanley Cup--in Vancouver.
When Marchand was partying a little too hard last summer after winning the Cup, his dad Kevin put a stop to it, sitting his son down and telling him to reel it in, but offering that he would leave his son alone if the Bruins win two Stanley Cups in the next three years. While 2012 obviously won't happen, there is still a chance for 2013!
McQuaid's father Mark and his wife Dianne were in Boston to watch the Bruins' last regular-season game in April, which they won 4-3 in a shootout against the Buffalo Sabres. That win, to Mark, exemplified the Bruins' work ethic and determination as a whole. The McQuaid clan often tries to make the trip down to see Adam play--they were also right there when he won the Stanley Cup, too.
Pouliot's dad, Sylvain, played all sorts of sports, but envisioned his son as a hockey player. So, he coached all three of his sons and watched them grow. When Benoit was drafted by the Ontario Hockey League in 2002, though, Sylvain grew sick with leukemia. The disease weakened him and he was never able to see his son play after that. He could listen to games on the Internet, however, and he heard his son score his first goal as part of the Sudbury Wolves in February 2004. Perhaps that's what brought him peace and told him it was okay to move on, because he passed away on February 14 of that year.
Bob Savard remembers young Marc was especially gifted with golf clubs, but that he started out wanting to be a goaltender. Marc saw Felix Potvin between the pipes and wanted to be just like him, always playing goalie in street hockey games with pads hand-painted to look like Potvin's. However, Bob was hesitant to let his son play goalie, though he eventually let him borrow some pads and try to play. Marc came back after two games, returned the equipment and said he didn't want to play goalie anymore because he was afraid of the puck. So instead, he became a forward.
Seguin's dad, Paul, owns a finance company in their Ontario hometown of Brampton. He played college hockey at the University of Vermont, but that was it in terms of his playing career. Seguin said that his dad was more of an enforcer, whereas his mom Jackie was more gifted on the ice, and that both of them kept him humble.
While Thomas' family was not very poor, they were not very rich, either. His dad, Tim Sr., was able to pay the bills off his work as a car salesman in the beginning of tough times in Michigan, but affording extras like hockey tournament trips often meant thinking of other ways to make money. Tim Sr. pawned his and his wife Kathy's wedding rings to help--although now, he said his wife has a much nicer ring. Tim Sr. also encouraged his son by taking him to Flint-area rinks and playing friendly garage games against him.
Mark Thornton was the second generation of Thornton men to work at an Ontario steel mill and one summer, he had Shawn work at the mill too. It was a hot, dangerous job, but Mark figures it was a character-building, and muscle-building, experience for his son. Not that the elder Thornton wasn't sympathetic to his son's passion for hockey: he played until he was in his 40s, when a puck knocked out many of his teeth.
Emma Harger is a Bruins fan and wishes you and yours a happy Father's Day.