When the Dallas Stars recently had their annual dads' road trip one of the questions that was asked was what advice the players got from their dads when they were young that they still remember today. Something their father would yell from the stands or talk about on the many trips to and from the rink. It made me think it would be interesting to ask that question to those in the Allen Americans organization.
It would be cruel and unusual punishment to replicate the "take dad on the road" for the Allen Americans as it would mean taking the dads on the 1998 bus (with over 1,000,000 miles) for hours at a time when you can be fined $50 for going to the bathroom but it was easy to get the answer about the fatherly advice. For some players the response was immediate, for some it made them think and reflect, for some it was a very short answer and for others it was a long conversation.
In their own words here is the Allen Americans version of "Hockey Advice From My Father"
Jamie Schaafsma - My dad used to always yell "skate" from the stands when I was being lazy but then the other parents started doing the same thing so he stopped. The other thing I used to hear all the time from him was "don't give the puck away."
Ian Schultz - My dad used to always tell me not to be a cry baby as nobody likes a whiner.
Aaron Gens - My dad used to always say "It's showtime Gensy" and he used that for all of us. It was a family thing.
Nolan Descoteaux - My dad was my coach for the first couple of years and he was always talking about skating, power skating and skating technique. I remember him putting on his skates during public skates and have me push him around the rink getting as low as I could. He would tell me, "get low like you are sitting on the toilet."
Rylan Schwartz - My dad used to tell us a lot of things but the one I heard the most was "move your feet."
Jesse Messier - My dad was always a pretty quiet guy. He would never yell from the stands. What I remember most was how supportive he was win or lose. He would never give me advice but would always say good game. If I didn't want to talk about hockey we wouldn't but if I did he would encourage me.
Riley Gill - My dad always told me to have a short memory and just forget about the bad things that happen to me during a game. He would always say, "Don't let the little things get you down."
Kevin Young - My dad would not give me hockey advice, he always emphasized to go out and have fun.
Trevor Ludwig - Because my dad was busy playing hockey is was difficult for him to make it to our hockey games when we were young. He would never yell at us. He was raised on a farm in a hard nosed environment as a child and he didn't want to do that for us. He was really nice with us and would just give us pointers. What my dad use to tell me all of the time was you don't need to stick handle thorough everyone just get the puck and move it, get it and move it. He was a big proponent of KISS (keep it simple stupid). The only time my dad ever coached us was in 2012-2013 with the Americans.
Gary Steffes - I got into hockey because of my dad who played in a men's league when I was a kid. I was a wild kid and super competitive so my dad thought hockey was a way I could release some energy and have some fun. My dad would travel about an hour to Detroit to work and than drive back home after work and pick me up and then drive an hour back to Detroit to take me to practice. He would often try and teach me by telling me to watch other players that were good at some aspect of the game. My dad was always there for me, he was always supportive and he was always pushing me to get better. I would not be playing professional hockey if it wasn't for my dad.
Brian McMillin - For the most part my dad just let me do my own thing when it came to hockey but he would always tell me to score on my first shift. I think it was his way of making sure I was ready to play from the start of the game.
Chad Costello - My dad never yelled when I was playing as he is a pretty laid back. He used to always say to me it is not how good you are right now, it is how good you can become. He would always emphasize the process of getting better and learning from success and failure.
Erik Adams - My dad was my coach so he told me lots of things. Play smart, play tough and move your feet were always emphasized. He would tell me all the time how important it was to win your one on one battles.
Josef Fojtik - My dad use to always say, "you are skating at people, you need to skate to open ice" and if I played poorly he would say "you were only there to count five" which meant I was just taking up space.
Brett Lyon - My dad used to say a lot of things to me going to and from the rink but the one I remember the most is "play every shift like it is your last one."
Tyler Ludwig - The thing that I remember my dad saying that applies to hockey and life in general is whenever you get an opportunity, don't be the one to screw it up for yourself. We learned a lot by just watching my dad play hockey. My dad understands the game so well and he is so smart it is hard for him to understand when you don't do what he says. He always tries to find a way to help you but he is not one to pump your tires.
Kyle Follmer - I remember my dad talking to me and my brother about using head movement to disguise what you are going to do. My dad played hockey but was more of the enforcer type tough guy. He coached me in youth hockey and two years in high school. One of the other things he would always say is goal scorers score because they go to the net.
Garrett Clarke - My dad would always have plenty of constructive criticism but what I remember most was play every shift like it is your last.
Greger Hanson - I remember my dad (and mom) being strict about school as they would say if you don't do your homework you can't go to practice. My dad would also always tell me if you are not having fun then don't go to practice. He was very good at letting me decide and not pushing me at all. My dad played hockey but never coached me. He was my coach in soccer.
Steve Martinson - My dad didn't play hockey but played three sports all the way through college. He always stressed hard work, compete and have fun.
It was fascinating talking to all of the players (and coaches) about their dads and in many cases you can see how the advice from their fathers as youngsters has shaped the type of hockey players and young men they have become.