There comes a time in a fathers life when he feels the need to pass down beloved treasures to his son. Trinkets or collectibles that hold a special place in the soul, of shared joy, hard work, meaningful moments in time. Items that represent memories locked away in our hearts and minds, revisited often in times of quiet reflection. We all pass the torch to anybody who comes next. We do it as parents, as our parents did for us.
“Nos bras meurtris vous tendent le flambeau à vous toujours de le porter bien haut” - In Flanders Fields, John McCrae 1915
(“To you from failing hands we throw the torch be yours to hold it high” (an inspirational quote, on the locker room walls of the Montreal Canadians)
My son Austin grew up at a local ice arena that I managed for many years. He spent endless hours on the ice, learning to skate early on. Always listening intently to stories of my playing days and enjoying old photos. He always joined in on many a tape ball game in the lobby as a tot...ice hockey was inevitable, goaltending was a choice. I like to think it was in the bloodlines, good genes. He quickly learned the love and passion for the game as he grew. Always watching the Legends of Hockey series together, learning the history of the game and it's immortals.
Finally joining the youth program as a goalie, he chose to wear number 33, his favourite player, Patrick Roy. He passed on number 30, another goalie he knew pretty well. (I eventually got over it). He played for years and we traveled all over the upper midwest to countless tournaments. Once in St. Louis, I arranged for us to catch an Avalanche morning skate, and he finally got to meet Patrick in person, one on one. They shook hands and talked for a few moments as Patrick signed Austin's mask and an authentic jersey for me, to add to my collection. It was priceless to see the two together; a memory I'm grateful to have on film.
I wanted the passing of the torch to be extra special for Austin, he was too young (at the time) to remember Patrick with the Canadians. I felt it was important for his gift to encompass Roy's NHL career, so both masks were added to the signed Avalanche jersey. With the help of Andy Chung and Goalie Mask Collector, I was able to acquire signed Roy masks from both the Canadians and Avalanche, to add to the beginning of "his collection" now.
I hope as the years pass, Austin can look back and remember the love and passion for this great game. Honor its legends that passionately laid the foundations of its history. Look deep into the eyes of a mask and remember a childhood hero. Think of a father that loved him deeply and always wanted the best for his oldest son.