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Fathers and Sons Team Up for Annual Trip

by Michael Smith / Carolina Hurricanes
It’s time once again for the Carolina Hurricanes’ annual dads trip. 19 fathers of players and staff are along for the ride to St. Louis, where the Canes will face off with the Blues on Thursday night. is with the team to bring you an inside look at the trip.

Last updated: Jan. 20, 8:00 p.m.

Jan. 20, 8:00 p.m.

From Jan. 14

Eric (and Jordan) Staal's dad, Henry, is a wily veteran of dads trips.

“I don’t even know. I don’t think he knows,” Eric said when I asked him what number trip this was for Henry. “I think he’s around 20. It’s got to be something in that area.”

Meanwhile, Jaccob Slavin’s dad, Robert, is a rookie, just like his son.

“It’s unbelievable. He’s a hard-working man, so he doesn’t have too much time for stuff like this. For him to be able to make it is unbelievable,” Slavin said after the team’s morning skate in St. Louis. “He’s loving it so far. He’s been grinning the whole time we’ve been here.”

Even on his umpteenth trip, Henry, who roomed with Eric this year, was grinning just the same.

“It’s fun. It’s nice to let him see the other side of it,” Staal said. “It’s fun to have him a part of the process and enjoy the experience. He loves it every time. He gets to meet a lot of other guys’ dads, hear their stories and talk to other people about hockey, which he loves to do. It’s always fun.”

For Slavin, who was about to play in his 26th NHL game, the opportunity to bring his dad along on an NHL road trip was one he couldn’t pass up.

“It’s been awesome. He’s been there with me for everything throughout my whole life, so to be able to spend a weekend like this with him is unbelievable,” he said. “It’s such a wonderful opportunity that they give us here.”

While the Canes were enjoying their fathers’ company in St. Louis, the Rangers were about to embark on a two-game road trip with their moms; Henry was with Eric and Jordan, and Linda was with Marc.

“She’s pretty excited. It’s the first time ever. It was his birthday yesterday, so it worked out nicely that they were able to spend some time together and enjoy that experience as well,” Staal said after Thursday’s morning skate. “We’ll hear from Marc and from her how it went at the start of next week.”

And maybe the Canes could host the moms at some point.

“She’s been quiet in her demeanor her whole life, but she’s obviously excited,” Staal said. “She doesn’t show a lot of emotion, but I think she’s excited about the chance to experience what her sons go through on a daily basis, and to be a part of something like that is pretty cool for her.”

That night, the Hurricanes dads would watch their sons assemble a commanding 4-1 victory over the Blues.

“It will just be another hockey game for him to go to, but it’s just on a bigger stage now,” Slavin said. “I know he’s told me countless time how proud he is of me, and I just want to go out there and make him proud too.”

From Jan. 14

"Trust me: they've got more beer in here than you can drink," our bus driver said as we pulled up to the Anheuser-Busch Brewery.

"Well, they don't know us then!" a dad bellowed from the back.

As it turns out, the bus driver was right.

Between the Hurricanes morning skate and their face off with the St. Louis Blues on Thursday night, the collection of dads got a tour of the Anheuser-Busch Brewery, an hour-long excursion that included a historical look at Anheuser-Busch, a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the beer-making process, face time with the famed Clydesdales and, of course, some tasty beverages.

Brewery tour Brewery tour Brewery tour Brewery tour Brewery tour
Brewery tour Brewery tour Brewery tour Brewery tour Brewery tour

Jan. 14, 7:25 p.m.

Hear from Eddie Lack, John-Michael Liles, Cam Ward and Brad Malone on why the fathers trip is such a special event.

Jan. 14, 2:00 p.m.

Just as they probably have done countless numbers of times in their son's hockey careers, the Canes fathers took in a morning skate at Scottrade Center today. Before the Canes took the ice, the dads got to watch the Blues skate around and then got to listen in on a power-play meeting led by Canes assistant coach Rod Brind'Amour.

The Hurricanes morning skate wrapped up with a group photo at center ice.

On tap (literally) for this afternoon: a tour of the Budweiser brewery.

Jan. 13, 8:30 p.m.

With their fathers in town for this one-game road trip, the Hurricanes gathered as a team for dinner at a local St. Louis establishment.

Team dinner

Jan. 13, 6:45 p.m.

The Canes and their dads have landed in St. Louis!

Dads Trip Dads Trip Dads Trip

Players and their fathers from left to right: James and Brad Malone, Dan and Victor Rask; Mikael Lindholm, Chris and John Terry, Darrell and Riley Nash; Jeff and Andrew Skinner, Ken and Cam Ward.

Up next: a team dinner with all the dads. Stay tuned ...

Jan. 13, 6:00 p.m.

The Carolina Hurricanes’ team plane is filled to capacity for this week’s trip to St. Louis because there are a handful of extra passengers on board: the fathers of players and staff, an annual tradition for the team.

“It’s awesome,” head coach Bill Peters said. “It’s always good to have the fathers trip. The guys are excited.”

Paired up with their sons, the 19 dads of players and staff piled on the plane for the flight to St. Louis. The itinerary includes a team dinner tonight and a tour of the Budweiser brewery after Thursday’s morning skate. The trip is capped with Thursday night’s faceoff between the Hurricanes and Blues.

“If you can’t play hard when your dad is there, I think you have a problem,” Peters laughed. “There are lots of reasons to play well, but that’s another one.”

Among the dads traveling is Henry Staal, father to Eric and Jordan; meanwhile, their mom, Linda, is in New York for the Rangers’ moms trip. A true veteran of the Canes’ fathers trip, Ken Ward is traveling with Cam. Making their first trips with their rookie sons are Luciano Di Giuseppe and Robert Slavin. Even injured defenseman James Wisniewski is traveling with the team along with his dad, James Wisniewski.

Eddie Lack’s dad, affectionately known as Wille, is also along for the trip.

“It’s always fun to have him here and see our daily lives. For me and for a lot of other guys here, our dads are a very big reason why we are here and playing at the highest level,” Lack said. “It’s a little bit of a reward for him and an appreciation (for what he’s done).”

As he does every year, Wille came across the pond for Christmas, and he’s been in Raleigh with Eddie since, even flying to Canada last week for Eddie’s birthday and his return to Vancouver.

“He really liked going back to Vancouver,” Eddie said. “Everything really clicked. It was fun.”

This is Wille’s second fathers trip after the Canucks hosted one last season. Eddie calls him a “veteran” now.

“Having him be a part of this is pretty special,” he said. “It’s been perfect.”

Michael Smith
MICHAEL SMITH is the Web Producer for the Carolina Hurricanes.

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