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A TRIP OF A LIFETIME

The Dads' Trip means the world to everyone involved

by TORIE PETERSON @ToriePeterson / CalgaryFlames.com

The last couple years have been kind to the Hathaway family.

Garnet's father, John, was able to make a portion of this year's Dads' Trip - it's the busy season in the lobster industry and he returned to the east coast following the win in Chicago - making him the second Hathaway parent to embark on a road swing with the Flames.

Last year, Garnet's mother Suellen was a part of the Moms' Trip, which took part during a journey through Las Vegas and Glendale.

"It means so much to have him here," Hathaway told CalgaryFlames.com. "It's nice. In my career, I've never known when I'm going to be up so to be able to share my time in the NHL with him and to be able to share it with my mom as well? I'm really lucky.

"They've done so much for me throughout my entire hockey career. Especially me when I was really little, driving me everywhere and making sure I had everything I needed to play.

"To look up and see him at the pre-game skate and see him at the game, it's really exciting.

"He's always been an outlet for me to talk to and there's no question I wouldn't be where I am today without him"

The trip also allowed for John to make his first trip out to Calgary and watch his son and the Flames down the LA Kings 4-1 last Friday as well, adding to the overall experience for the family.

"It was nice to have him out in Calgary, show him the city, and have him watch a game at the Saddledome. To be able to have him not only the road life we live, but also have him in Calgary and show him around, it's been really nice."

The coaching staff has thoroughly enjoyed the additional guests on the trip, revelling in the atmosphere surrounding the team with a family member present.

"I think it's awesome that the organization allows us to bring a family guest: a father, a brother, we've got an uncle on the trip, too," Bill Peters said. "It's a real good group of men and you can see why our guys are the way they are. I think they come from good stock."

Over the past couple of seasons, the team has alternated between a Moms' Trip and a Dads' Trip. Including the home game played before departing for Vegas and Arizona last year, the moms had a 2-1-0 record. The dads boast a 3-0-0 record and the team scored 16 goals over that stretch as well.

So, with their records in mind and bragging rights on the line, has a friendly mothers vs. fathers rivalry developed?

"It's a competitive league," Peters chuckled, noting the dads will likely be angling for another trip ahead of their counterparts with this year's perfect record.

As Peters noted, it's not just dads involved - it's any male family member a player would like to accompany them on the trip.

For Travis Hamonic, that means his brother Jesse joined him on the trek. With Jesse based in St. Louis, the pair don't see each other as often as they would like, making this experience all the more special.

"We've obviously been through a lot with each other and we're super close now," Travis said. "It's good to see him have a good time, let loose, and enjoy himself with the other dads. Everybody enjoys being around him so it makes it fun for me too."

Rasmus Andersson had his uncle Stefan Petterson with him. His father Peter, who had a lengthy professional career in Europe and skated in 47 NHL games, is the head coach of the Malmö Redhawks in the SHL and with the season in mid-swing, it was impossible to get away.

Enter Uncle Stefan, who has been keeping tabs on his nephew throughout the course of this season despite having the challenge of an eight-hour time difference back home in Sweden.

"It's great to see Rasmus," he said. "It's been fantastic for him to join the team. He's been up for I think two months now. It's great to see him. He's fought hard to reach this level ... this is his big dream.

"It's amazing to see everything around the team, behind-the-scenes. It's great stuff."

Derek Ryan's unique path to the NHL - becoming a league regular at close to 30 years old - has meant his father Tim has watched him play all over the world. He's witnessed his son take to the ice in the WHL, represent the University of Alberta with the Golden Bears, play in Europe with stops in Hungary, Switzerland, and Sweden, and finally, arrive back in North America to play in the AHL and finally, the NHL.

While he was been on a Dads' Trip in the past, when Derek was with the Carolina Hurricanes, this kind of experience never gets old for Tim.

"It's hard to put into words," he said. "It's really amazing for us dads to come and experience our son's life in the NHL. We're just trying to soak it all in. 

"The camaraderie with the other dads is pretty special because we've ... done the same things growing up with our kids in the sport. And to get to experience life in the NHL is something that we're very lucky to participate in."

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