Boston Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid is already a veteran of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, including winning a Stanley Cup title with the Bruins in 2011 and approaching 50 postseason games for his career before his 27th birthday.
This postseason, McQuaid, 26, has been a staple of Boston's third defensive pairing, providing a shut-down presence for Claude Julien. In the Eastern Conference Final, McQuaid scored the series-winning goal in a stunning four-game sweep of the Pittsburgh Penguins.
McQuaid has been gracious enough to agree to keep a player blog that will appear on NHL.com throughout the Stanley Cup Final.
In his latest installment, McQuaid reminisces about the impact his father has had on his career as he arrived home from Chicago on Father's Day.
My hockey relationship with my dad is maybe a little different than a lot of other guys. My dad, Mark, never played organized hockey growing up. He came from a big family and wasn't necessarily fortunate to have that opportunity. But he was always was very supportive of me.
I was able to get the opportunities to play and go to hockey schools. When we were really young, he would freeze the side patio deck and we would go out there and skate around and play a little bit. Me, my brother and my dad would always play down in the basement and call it "Hockey Night in Cornwall." Somehow, my brother and I were always able to win.
He was always very supportive. He pushed me, but never in a negative way, and that wasn't only in hockey but in everything. Basically, it was always a "do your best" kind of thing. It felt good to see them after a game whether I had a good game or a bad game, because my dad was always going to be positive and make me feel good about myself. Even to this day, they try their best to get to as many games as they can and I enjoy every minute I have to spend with them.
My mom, Dianne, and my dad are driving down from Prince Edward Island and they'll get in maybe late tonight and be here for the next two games, and I'm looking forward to that. It's about 10 or 11 hours, but it is a nice drive and I don't think they mind much doing it.
I started playing hockey when I was five. From what I am told, part of it is that I was a really shy kid and my parents wanted me to get into something that was team-orientated so I could be hanging out with other kids my age and try to come out of my shell a little bit. I think that was the main reason for it and, obviously, everyone played; so it was just something that caught on and I stuck with it.
Winning the Stanley Cup in 2011 was especially nice because I got to share it with my family. It was nice to be able to do that. The family was in Vancouver for Game 7, so I got to spend time with them on the ice and in the dressing room after. They were here for the parade and everything. It felt only right to have them here after everything they had done for me.
Then, to be able to bring the Cup home to Cornwall was great. The funny thing is I actually had it on my father's birthday. So, we got to celebrate both the Cup and his birthday on the same day. He tried to keep his birthday quiet, but I don't know if he didn't want to steal the thunder or if he just didn't want people knowing how old he was.
At times like those, you think back to all the things that led to that point. The players make a lot of sacrifices, obviously. But the families make a tremendous amount of sacrifices as well, and I think that is why when you see guys have milestones or whatever in their careers that they always have their family around because they are such a big part of it.
Part of the day was taking the Cup out to where my father grew up in Riverdale where four generations of McQuaids have lived out there. It's a small farmhouse and I could feel the history of the family there and I knew how much it meant to him to have the Cup there. I'm sure he was reminiscing about all the time he spent out there and the time he spent with his father, who passed away when I was pretty young. I'm sure it was a special moment for everyone.
It's good to be back in Boston. Thanks for reading and happy Father's Day to everyone!