December 3, 2011
Leafs dads going along for ride
By Terry Koshan, QMI Agency
For John Gardiner, a couple of words sum up his feelings about following his son Jake and the Maple Leafs to Boston and New York this weekend.
“It’s a trip of a lifetime for me,” Gardiner said. “I said to someone that this trip will be what settles it for me, that Jake is really here and going to stay. I’m still kind of pinching myself.”
No less than 26 proud papas have joined the Leafs for stops in Beantown, where they will face the Bruins on Saturday night, and Manhattan, where they will take on the Rangers on Monday night. With two open nights on the road, there will be plenty of time for story-telling and other adventures.
Many of the dads were on hand at the MasterCard Centre in Etobicoke on Friday to watch the Leafs practise.
“It’s a fun weekend for the players to have everyone’s dads around,” said winger Joffrey Lupul, whose dad, Craig, is a lawyer in Edmonton. “You get to meet them and have an appreciation of where they come from. Most of all for our fathers, it’s a blast. They have a great time.”
Said defenceman John-Michael Liles: “We had a couple of these trips in Colorado so (his dad John-Perry) got to go to some pretty good cities. My mom (Janie) is pretty rattled, there hasn’t been a mothers’ trip in nine years.
“It’s great for someone who spent so much time driving me around to different hockey tournaments (including to Toronto from Indianapolis). It’s great to have him around to participate in the NHL atmosphere.”
That the dads have time to get to know each other is part of the fun.
“It’s incredible to share the stories,” John Gardiner said. “All these guys are pretty knowledgeable. They are all crazy (about hockey), just like me.”