It had to end sometime.
It was hard to watch it all end as my son played his last high school game.
The Janesville Bluebirds lost in their Regional Final to USM.
Just like that all the years of being a hockey dad were over.
Still as I sit here tonight, I expect to see my son walk in the door after practice to the usual question from me which was how practice was. But it is a moot point.
I think about the beginning of his early days. The inhouse days. The days when he would go and sit on the bumper because he was tired.
Then the Mite years. Those were the years when I heard that everyone on the team was going to play goalie at least once. And I cringed at the thought of my son giving up a goal knowing how kids can be. Still that first mite season they qualified for State. They did not win it, but still a good experience.
The Squirt years were good. As I got to watch Mason improve, the wins came often. In his second year of Squirts, the team qualified for State again. State would be held at Waunakee and we would have to play the host team in the first game who always had their number. But somehow the kids squeaked out a one goal win. The kids lost a one goal game to Stevens Point, and were able to win their last game taking third. that season he told me a few years later was the most fun.
The Peewee and Bantam years were up and down and more trips to State, but the elusive champion trophy was not won.
Then the rite of passage.
The high school team.
Being the guy that I am I watched as often as I could. The Freshman year was the first goal playing JV. Being Janesville's rink announcer there would be a time I would have to announce a penalty, which got fewer and fewer as he went thru the first couple years. Then one night all the planets aligned, as Mason scored his first Varsity goal, which was a thrill for this dad to announce.
However, the hardest thing to announce was Senior Day. I got to his bio and held it together pretty well until the last two sentences realizing that would be the last time I would call his name over the PA. I got choked up, and even shed a tear from the emotion at that time.
Then on February 5th it all ended with a playoff loss. I knew he would get that last shift and then time would run out. And the years of chasing the puck around as a player were over.
And so were my years as a Hockey Dad. I thank my son for letting me as a parent partake in this journey.
I was asked once if I would do it again.
You bet I would.
But from now on, I am a former Hockey Dad.
As my son skates off into the sunset.