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Mamma Mia

by Derek Jory / Vancouver Canucks
Seven years ago Eddie Lack and his mamma, Mia, sat in the stands at Madison Square Garden, speechless.

If you know anything about Eddie or his mom, you know any time-off from being zealously animated and loquacious isn’t time well spent. It goes against their very being; it’s tough to be who you are pretending to be something you’re not, but this was no act.

Mother and son couldn’t help themselves, they were taken aback in the presence of King Henrik – Lundqvist that is – and hockey at its highest level.

This was only Lack’s second ever NHL game (and his first since he was 10-years-old) and according to Mia, Eddie was so enthralled she was almost worried.

Thursday night following an inspiring 5-4 Vancouver Canucks comeback shootout win over the New York Rangers at the Garden, Eddie made his way to the stands to give his mother the mother of all hugs. They joyously exchanged words in Swedish before Eddie saluted Mia’s new posse.

Mia has had this game circled on her calendar for a while and she didn’t come alone bringing 24 others from Sweden for back-to-back Canucks games in New York and New Jersey. Returning to this arena with Eddie on the ice instead of with her in the stands had been a dream, which she shared with hockey fans from their hometown of Norrtalje, Sweden.

Norrtalje is a charming city of 20,000 people that forms part of Roslagen, one of the coastal areas of the Uppland province about 80 km northeast of Stockholm. This is where Eddie was born and although he lived here, there and everywhere in Sweden growing up, the locals have always kept tabs on his hockey career.

Mia owns a small travel agency in Norrtalje and on a whim she put a poster in her shop window advertising a trip to New York and New Jersey to see Eddie Lack and the Vancouver Canucks play.

She didn’t have the poster up long.

“I had to take it down that same morning because it was fully booked,” giggled Mia, who is every bit as cute and loving as you imagine she’d be. “There are 25 of us here, most of them my customers. They’ve been following Eddie in the local newspaper for like 10 years at least, so they know a lot about him and they’re coming and asking me questions about Eddie all the time. So I tried this and here we are.”

The group got in on Wednesday and after nine hours of travel they were treated to a VIP dinner with one Eddie Lack that night. The group attended morning skate Thursday and were back for the game that night, and what a game it was. While happy for Ryan Miller, this group came to see Eddie play and they’ll get their chance Friday night in New Jersey.

“I’m very much excited, I love to be around Eddie, it’s very nice,” gushed Mia.

She’ll wish her son luck pre-game at the Prudential Center, but whether or not she takes to Twitter to spread the love is still up in the air.

Before Eddie shutout the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-0 on December 4, 2014, Mia (@mammamialack) wished her son luck the only way she saw fit.

“That’s momma,” smiled Lack on the bus ride back to the hotel after morning skate Thursday. “She’s always been so loving and supportive, I mean just look at this trip and bringing all these people along. She keeps me in the loop with what’s going on in my hometown and it’s exciting all these people can be here.”

Lack can recall almost every detail of watching the Rangers play at MSG with his mom seven years ago and said being back in New York is always surreal, although more so last year when he went head-to-head with his idol Lundqvist, but it’s special all the same.

Eddie was happy being back nonetheless; happy is a word Mia used a lot when talking about her son, saying his big heart is what makes him so joyous and able to spread that to others.

Pair that big heart with the quiet confidence Lack has always had – “It’s been his dream, so he’s always been very persistent that he was going to be an NHL hockey player” – and the makeup of the 27-year-old goaltender becomes clearer and clearer.

“I don’t know if I was confident or just stupid a bit,” laughed Lack. “I’ve just always had fun every step of the way and not really thought about it with a lot of pressure. She’s a great and loving person and some of that rubbed off on me I hope; I know I get my positive attitude from my mom – that and my smile!”

Another smiling embrace between momma and son is now in the works for New Jersey.

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