lindstrom mom

The dream for Cayden Lindstrom was always to make it to the National Hockey League – even if it came at the expense of the furnishings in his childhood home.

Growing up in tiny Chetwynd, British Columbia, Lindstrom was introduced to the game by his grandfather, who got him skates at a young age.

“He started off fairly young and he just took a hold of it,” his mother, Patricia, said moments after Cayden was drafted. “I’ve never seen somebody love the ice and breathe the ice as much as that kid.”

The problem? Once his grandpa tied the skates on, young Lindstrom couldn’t take them off when he got back to the house.

“My mom almost killed him,” Lindstrom said with a laugh.

As a result, Patricia often was left with a mess that she simply had to live with.

“He’s ruined couches,” she said. “He’s ruined walls and sheds. He said, ‘I’ll get you back one day.’”

Cayden Lindstrom meets with the media t the draft.

That day came Friday when Lindstrom was chosen fourth overall by the Blue Jackets in the 2024 NHL Draft. After a dominant season of junior hockey, Lindstrom has potential stardom ahead of him, to the point he was named the top draft-eligible professional prospect in all of Canada’s junior ranks a season ago.

And when his name was called by Blue Jackets legend Rick Nash during Friday night’s proceedings, Lindstrom stood up and turned to his mother – as well as his grandmother, Edna – for hugs he probably wishes could last a lifetime. On a memorable night, it’s the moment Lindstrom will cherish the most.

“It was amazing,” Lindstrom said. “Everything she’s done for me up until this point, I tried to hug her as long as I can, her and my grandma. It’s pretty emotional for sure. She’s my superhero, really.”

When Patricia heard that word – superhero – she couldn’t help but get emotional.

“I think I heard him say it tonight for the first time actually in front of me, to my face,” Patricia said. “I don’t know how to explain how it made me feel knowing I was able to be that superhero for him and be that role model and his backbone and his support whenever he needed me. To hear something like that is really profound knowing that myself as a mother, I did my best for him.”

So did the entire family, not to mention all of Chetwynd. Lindstrom grew up playing a number of sports, including track, soccer and baseball, but hockey was his true love. He is Canadian, after all, and as he grew into a 6-3 force of nature, it started to become clear he’d have to go elsewhere to achieve his full potential.

What started as weekend trips to tournaments across British Columbia turned into a full-time move to Vancouver. At age 14, where Lindstrom left Chetwynd for the suburbs of Vancouver to attend the Delta Hockey Academy, where he could get the type of training that would take him to the top. The problem? Chetwynd, population 2,500, is about as far from Vancouver as you can get in British Columbia, a full 14-hour drive.

Considering Lindstrom was the eldest child of four in the household and Patricia is a single mother, it wasn’t exactly what a mom would want to hear.

“Obviously, it happened at a really young age,” he said. “She didn’t like that very much, obviously, but just driving 14 hours to Vancouver a couple times a summer just to play a little tournament, she had to take time off work, get a babysitter for my sisters. It was little things like that.”

Patricia said she eventually figured out how to do the drive, even if it wasn’t always easy.

“I didn’t enjoy the driving as much, but once you got there, I was like, ‘OK, we’re good,’” she said with a laugh.

One of the hardest parts of the journey was time away from home, especially as Lindstrom’s younger sisters – now ages 12, 11 and 8 – started to grow up. It’s a tight family, and Lindstrom is an active older brother in his siblings’ lives, even as he continued his junior career in Medicine Hat, Alberta, itself about a 12-hour drive from Chetwynd.

“He’s amazing with them,” Patricia said. “Even though we’re apart, we FaceTime quite a bit, and now that the girls have cell phones, they talk and share stuff. But it’s harder for them compared to me because I’ve been with him longer, so they feel like they’re missing out.”

Lindstrom’s dedication to hockey has rubbed off, though, as his youngest sister has picked up the game at 8 years old (no word whether she wears skates in the house).

It’s fair to say, though, that Lindstrom wouldn’t be where he is now without the support of his family, in particular his mother.

“I’ve been with her my whole life,” he said. “Ever since I was young, we’ve been so close to each other. She’s one of my best friends. We just have that really close bond. With her being a single mom, it was just me and her for a long time until my three younger sisters came along. I think that’s a really big reason (we’re so close).”

Which is why Friday night in Las Vegas was such a big moment for the Lindstrom family. His mother and grandmother were able to make the trip for the emotional evening, and his grandfather back home made sure to check in too.

“He texted me after he got picked, his first words were, ‘I cried,’” Patricia said the night of the draft. “I said, ‘Of course. We’re all gonna cry.’ Mama has kept it together pretty good, but I’m gonna bawl. I haven’t yet, but maybe later.”

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