Being a teenage hockey superstar doesn’t come easy. It takes courage, perseverance, and determination. It’s a great sacrifice to follow your dreams and make it as a hockey player.
For 19-year old Ryan Howse
, sacrifice has a completely different and more personal meaning.
The Calgary Flames prospect and Chilliwack Bruins superstar, has the word ‘sacrifice’ tattooed on the inside of his forearm.
When Howse was just 15, right before he moved away for junior hockey, his mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. When he looks at his arm, it reminds him of how important family is and how committed his family is to each other.
|The tattoo on Ryan Howse's arm has a lot of meaning |
“When I look at this every day, it reminds me how tough things can be at times,” said Howse. “But if you work through it you can get through anything and accomplish anything.”
Howse says that the artwork on his arm still needs some work. He plans on integrating the breast cancer ribbon, the names of his mom, dad and brother (Roxanne, Jason and Dryden) as well as the phrase ‘hope and faith’ into the tattoo.
“All the hard work they’ve done to get me where I am,” he said speaking of his family. “It’s not just me. Sometimes people think it’s about the player, how he got there and accomplished so much, but the person who’s there knows who played the biggest parts.
“It was my family. They’re waking up a 6 a.m. and driving me to practice. They’re buying my equipment. They’re putting the money together to let me play.”
Roxanne Howse successfully battled through the disease and has been cancer free for three years.
“When my mom was going through the hard time, it was tough to see,” Howse said. “Dryden was five years old, and if he would have lost his mom and me to hockey, I don’t know how he would have turned out.
“I don’t even know if I’d be here right now. I probably would have stayed home. It shows how strong my mom is and she did a good job and so did my dad.”
The feisty forward from Prince George, BC, is on his way to another stellar season with the Bruins of the Western Hockey League. He tallied 15 goals and 10 assists in through 14 games this season.
Last season, Howse had a career-high season, recording 72 points in 72 games and improved from a minus 24 in 2008-09 to a plus nine in 2009-10.
“I think I’ve surprised myself,” he said. “It was a pretty strong start to the season. I’ve got a lot of help from my two linemates (Czechs Roman Horak and Robin Sudek).
“They’re from the same home town and played a lot together. They’ve made me a better hockey player.”
The Flames draft pick, is on pace to top his numbers from last season and possibly earn himself a spot on Team Canada’s world junior team this January. He was recently named to Team WHL for the Subway Super Series against the Russians which takes place in his hometown, Prince George.
“It’s in the back of my mind, and I’m trying to prepare myself for that tryout if I get that opportunity,” he said of a shot on the World Junior stage..
Author: Kristi Hennessy/calgaryflames.com