MONTREAL - Jeff Petry is one of the smoothest skaters around, so there's a good chance his four-year-old son, Boyd, could be just as graceful on the ice one day.
Only time will tell, of course, but Petry's eldest child is off to a solid start.
After spending the last two summers learning some basics with the help of a skating coach in Michigan, Boyd recently began weekend group lessons on the South Shore.
"He was toying with us all summer. We thought he couldn't stand up. He'd fall into my arms or the coach's arms. But when we put him out there a few weeks ago, he showed that he could skate on his own," said the nine-year NHL veteran, who is heading into his fifth full season with the Canadiens. "I haven't been able to go a lot because we have practices, but my wife says he's doing better and having fun with it. Baby steps."
According to the 31-year-old defenseman, the on-ice sessions essentially give Boyd the chance to get a good feel for the ice.
"He's with his group of four-year-olds. It's practice, but they have the little skate helper. Some kids are past that and skate with their sticks as well. He'll usually push the skating thing around, and when he gets bored he grabs a stick himself," mentioned Petry. "He'll do that for the first 30 minutes, and then there's an activity for the last little bit."
When Petry does have the chance to skate with Boyd, though, it's a real thrill.
"It's cool to see him out there. The first time he had the full gear on was funny to see. I'm just trying to make sure that he's having fun with it because I don't want to force anything on him," explained Petry. "He likes watching hockey and likes playing at home, too. I thought this was a good opportunity to get him into his first team."
As with all young children, keeping them focused and on task isn't necessarily a breeze. Boyd is no exception come lesson time.
He often likes to get creative, so to speak.
"There's times when he falls and wants to do snow angels, and I'm not going to make him get up," cracked Petry. "He's showing more interest, though, and getting more involved when they do break into groups. It's a work in progress, but we'll just continue to take it one practice at a time."
It just so happens that Boyd's interest in honing his basic hockey skills has rubbed off on his younger brother, two-year-old, Barrett.
"He's always tagging along to the skates and he's always asking to go on the ice," revealed Petry. "I'll take him out there with his little gliders once in a while. At home, if one of them was to pick up a stick and just start messing around, it would actually be Barrett."
While Petry is pleased to see his boys displaying a fondness for the game he loves, he does have one stipulation should they choose to pursue it down the road.
"As long as they don't want to play goalie, we'll be in good shape," concluded Petry with a laugh.
Still getting used to it...
Petry's better half, Julie, is a new hockey mom, so adjusting to everything that comes with the job isn't easy.
"Yeah sure, dad is a professional hockey player and has done this his whole life, so we should know the drill...but let me tell ya; no, no WE don't know the drill. Dad knows it well, but this chica grew up in Texas," shared Julie on her Instagram account 10 days ago.
Here's to my Saturday and Sunday mornings from here on out for the next... ummm 20 years. 😳🙈 . . Dressed and on the ice by 8am...all to do ice angels and then say he has to go pee with 15 minutes left in his session. 😑 So much for our leisurely weekend mornings. Yeah sure, dad is a professional hockey player and has done this his whole life, so we should know the drill...but let me tell ya; no, no WE don't know the drill. Dad knows it well, but this chica (🙋🏼♀️) grew up in Texas and knew nothing about hockey until I met @jeffpetry26 and still knows nothing about this whole minor hockey thing. And, I sure as heck don't know anything about the gear or how to balance a toddler & a newborn at a rink that early in the morning. 🙃🎪 Talk about being way out of my comfort zone, especially since dad can't be there to help us the majority of time. It is all very new to us, but we will get there. Come hell or high water, we will get there and it'll become second nature before we know it.🤞🏼 But holy cow, this whole #hockeymom thing is no joke! 😅 . Thank God Jeff was able to get him dressed at home this morning so all I had to do was plop the helmet on when we got there! But, feel free to comment with any tips or tricks for these early mornings at the rink! Any advice is welcome with open arms. 🤗 . . #hockeylife #hockeymom #minorhockey #timbitshockey #montreal #rinkrat #boymom #lifewithboys
Boyd Petry: Social media superstar
Julie has shared some rather cool hockey-related Twitter moments featuring Boyd over the years.
Among those that have captured the attention of Canadiens fans across the globe are the videos showing Boyd identifying his father during the national anthem on TV.
When Petry finally has a chance to watch the clip following the final buzzer, it always makes him smile.
"It's special. After the game, the video is usually waiting on my phone or Julie's sending it to me," explained Petry.
In the latest post on September 18, Boyd is singing along to "O Canada" when he finally catches a glimpse of the Canadiens' No. 26.
And it seems like Boyd is a big fan of the song…
"I don't know if he knows the American national anthem as well as he knows the Canadian one. What's shocking is he'll sing it, and he'll break into the French version, too," concluded Petry. "That's what he hears so much, and he kind of relates that to dad's games. There'll be times when he'll be winding down in bed and he'll still be singing the Canadian national anthem. We always get a kick out of that."