We've all had the professional athlete daydream, full of parties and fast cars and ladies and boozy card games on the road that are filled with enough bawdy humor to make "Slap Shot" blush. Then you read an article that paints NHL players as regular dudes who want to catch up on their sleep when they're not discussing the latest model of Baby Bjorns. And the daydream's over.
Yvonne Zacharias of the Vancouver Sun writes about a trend in the Vancouver Canucks locker room: new daddies. Roberto Luongo, Ryan Kesler, Jason LaBarbera and Darcy Hordichuk have all recently joined the ranks of first-time fathers, to go along with the other family men in the room. From the Sun:
All of the recent arrivals are changing the culture of the dressing room. It's one of the reasons Hordichuk is glad he left the Nashville Predators and came to the Canucks last summer.
"Everybody on the team is having babies now and having second babies so it was as perfect team to come to," said the player who is known for his aggressive physical game on the ice and his personable side off it. "Whereas in Nashville, there were very few kids. Here, it just seems like they are going through that stage and you kind of learn from the moms and dads who have been through it."
This scrapping, formidable on-ice presence - who doesn't back away easily from a fight - admitted to feeling utterly helpless when his wife, Lisa, was in the delivery room.
This is the part where we're supposed to fawn over the article for humanizing these players; acknowledging the way it captures the painful separation of a professional athlete from his family as a crudely inevitable "part of the job."
And we were completely ready to do just that* ... until we saw this photo of Hordichuk from the Sun Web site. It's a very sweet image and all, but didn't Mike Milbury have a word for this sort of thing?
(* In all seriousness, it's a good piece that's perfectly timed for the trade deadline. As much as it pains us to have the uncomfortable realities of life creep into something as frivolously wonderful as Hockey Rumors Christmas, the stress on families yesterday around the League must have been immeasurable.)