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For the 21st episode of the Devils Official Podcast this season, our guests are Doug Severson, father of Devils defenseman Damon Severson and David Blackwood, father of Devils goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood.
Doug and David stopped into our podcast studio with host Matt Loughlin to talk about the father's trip which occurred last week and tell some stories about their sons growing up.
"I'm a rookie. This is new for me, so it's quite exciting. All the dads have been fantastic getting to meet them all. And, so far the team's been, treating us like kings. It's been amazing," said David Blackwood.
Doug Severson had a funny story around his son's basketball aspirations. Damon's basketball team growing up didn't have a coach so his dad, Doug, signed up to be the coach.
"At the end of our first practice, we go home and he looks at me and says, dad, I don't think I'm going to practice anymore. I don't want to play basketball," Severson said. "I just committed to coach basketball (for the entire season) without my son. It's going to be a long year. And I think I was probably coaching hockey at the time too."
Severson was in a quandary on what to do, knowing he was now coaching a team his son wasn't even on.
"I thought. Well, I'm not going to really say anything right now. I thought I'll just leave it alone. Damon still tells this story to this day and then the next morning we're having breakfast and I said, well, practice tonight, and he's just like, yeah, I'm not going to be there. I'm not going to, I don't like basketball."
Doug then answered back.
"I said, well, that's your decision, but I said, I don't know what you're going to do because all your buddies are going to be playing basketball for the year (and you'll be) sitting here by yourself at home," Doug said. "After school, he comes up and says, yeah, I guess I'll come play basketball."
Severson added that he didn't force Damon back to play basketball but did make him aware of his options.
"You can't force a kid. You always look at it and say, go have some fun then," he said. "And at the end of the day, you know what? As long as they're having fun doing what they're doing and giving it all they can and, and just, you're cheering them on."
David Blackwood had a similar story, though it was hockey that Mackenzie quit and eventually his wanting to quit hockey is what led him to goaltending.
"He ended up quitting hockey for a year and didn't want to play hockey, just, eh, it's not for me," he said. "And you know, that's fine. Whatever you find what you're interested in. But, he's always been interested in sports and athletics, it's just a matter of finding what he wants to do."
Blackwood took that year off when he was nine years old.
"All his friends are still playing hockey and everything else. So when you're competitive by nature and you see all your friends still playing, and that's what they're doing here, (he's thinking) I got to jump back in. So he did, he jumped back in for a little while and, he decided he was going to quit again at age 11. Didn't like it. And, it was that summer where he decided to try goaltending," said Blackwood. "I was a goalie growing up and he was encouraged to maybe put the pads on and see how he does he put the pads on that year."
From there, Blackwood saw a meteoric rise in his hockey career.
"It was basically Single A hockey. It wasn't high hockey. I was coaching him that year. We were the second worst team in the league and he was the only goalie," he said. "We didn't have a backup goalie that year. And I put a lot of eggs in one basket and said, Oh, well, you know, I've seen them, you know, move and he's got good moves and he'll pick it up pretty quick.
"Every year he seemed to move up. He had a steep hill to climb. He went from Single A to AA to AAA. And every year I said, this is a new venture for you. You know, we'd never, ever expected you would go from a goalie and a PeeWee single, A to Bantam AA to Minor Midget AAA."
He had some advice for his son.
"To me every step was just embrace it, love it, and embrace the moment. Because this is something you're going to look back on when you're a kid or when you're a father, you're an adult. You're looking back on your time as I've done. Just keep remembering these moments. Don't forget about them. And then (he made) the World Juniors, it was like, wow, this is incredible. Like this might be the pinnacle of your career. The world juniors, like you made it pretty, pretty darn good."