Flames prospect owes thanks to mom

STEVE MACFARLANE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:43 AM ET

Playing hockey of any kind is Michael Ferland’s passion.

So the day he got drafted by the Calgary Flames, it’s no surprise he chose to take part in a tournament far from the Staples Center in Los Angeles, where his name was called in the fifth round.

His mom, whose selfless commitment allowed her eldest son’s dreams to grow, was at home in Brandon, Man.

“I was playing in a ball-hockey tournament,” Ferland said during a break from the Flames development camp this week. “I got a call there.

“The first person I called was my mom. She started crying. She was crying all day. She couldn’t believe it.

“I couldn’t believe it.”

It is quite a story.

From age two, Ferland was raised by his single mom, Dianne.

With an older sister and younger brother, times were admittedly tough when it came to hobbies. Especially one as expensive as hockey.

Taking up the game as an eight-year-old, Ferland played house-league hockey until he was 15.

Even with plenty of other things to worry about, Dianne still made sure Michael made it to the practices and games.

“She’d just get me to the rink, get me to tournaments, make sure I was there and on time. She just had everything under control,” said the 6-foot, 195-lb. winger. “I thank her a lot.

“I was pretty busy with my hockey. She’d skip things just to make sure to get me there. I didn’t really think, the way

I grew up, how it was, I didn’t really expect to get drafted into the NHL. Or play in the Western Hockey League, either.”

His break came when Brad Wells — a former assistant coach with the WHL’s Wheat Kings — suggested Ferland try out for his midget triple-A squad three seasons ago. His son, Taylor, was a friend of Ferland’s.

“I ended up making that team,” Ferland said.

“The next year, I got protected by the Brandon Wheat Kings and I had a pretty good second year in the midget triple-A league. Then I ended up playing for the Memorial Cup team they had this year.”

All credit to a strong mother who helped her son’s dreams move from the outdoor rink to the Saddledome.

“I thank her a lot. If it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t be here right now,” said Ferland, who honed his skills as much outdoors with two of his hockey-crazy cousins as he did in weekly house-league games.

“We always went on the outdoor rink close to home. Go to school, come home, eat and meet up to go to the rink. We’d skate till night and we’d go home. We’d do that every day.”

He never thought it would lead him to the Flames prospect camp.

In fact, Ferland even passed up a chance to come to the Saddledome a few years back when a youth centre in Brandon brought a group of kids to Calgary to see Jordin Tootoo and the Nashville Predators play the host Flames.

“But I had a hockey game, so I skipped it and stayed and just played hockey. You’d think I’d want to come to an NHL game, but I stayed and played a house-league game,” Ferland said with a grin.

“It was just something

I wanted to do.”

A dedication only matched by mom.


Videos

Photos