BOSTON - David Backes remembers clearly the early morning wake-up calls, the long drives, and the frigid rinks.
But what he remembers even more keenly from his days as a young hockey player in Minnesota is the person who never ceased to be by his side: his mother, Karen.
In the hockey world - and, really, across all sports - the dads often get much of the credit for the success of their kids. But this weekend, it is the moms who are in the spotlight as the Bruins hold the organization's first ever Moms Trip during the team's trek to Pittsburgh.
"It should be an energizing trip where mom's the one that brought you to the rink at six in the morning when you're five, six years old to try to learn how to skate," Backes said as the trip began on Saturday at Warrior Ice Arena.
"Now, there's a chance to show her what our lives are like on a regular basis and kind of pay it forward to say you were a huge part of making it to this level. Just enjoying time with mom which you don't always get."
Twenty-one Bruins players had their mothers make the trip to Pittsburgh for Sunday afternoon's tilt with the Penguins, including Brad Marchand, who was accompanied by his mom, Lynn.
"I'm over-the-moon excited," said Lynn Marchand. "I was really jealous last year when [Brad's dad] Kevin got to come on the dad's trip. I've heard Kevin tell the stories of last year's trip and it sounded pretty exciting, they had a wonderful time."
Video: Lynn Marchand talks about the B's first moms trip
While Lynn Marchand was looking forward to spending time with Brad, she was also eager for the opportunity to share stories with the other mothers about their experiences of raising a son who made it to the National Hockey League.
"Getting to know the other moms on the team is really nice," said Lynn Marchand. "You want to share stories and see if your experiences have all been the same. It's just really nice to place the mom's faces with their kids.
"This is a unique experience and something we're really looking forward to."
Bruins coach Claude Julien, who said that with help from his mom he was in full hockey gear at the age of four, was happy to welcome the mothers on the trip.
"We've got mothers here that have done an unbelievable job with their kids in supporting them and raising them and everything else," said Julien. "Hopefully we have a good time with the mothers. And [Sunday] we can reward them with a real good effort and a real good win."