A memorable fathers and sons weekend was capped off in our nation's capital on Monday, as the Carolina Hurricanes faced off with the Washington Capitals that night.
The dads got off to an early start on Monday with a morning tour of the Pentagon. We were instructed not to bring cameras and cell phones inside the building, so there's not much to pictorially document except for an incredibly scenic shot of the building from the parking lot.
We were split into two groups for the tour, which lasted just under an hour. Guided by impeccably dressed members of the military, who walked backwards for the duration of the tour, we were briefed on the history of the Pentagon and the various branches of the military. We walked nearly a mile through the five-sided structure and got a glimpse of the indoor Pentagon Memorial, which honors those who lost their lives on September 11.
The tour ended in time for the dads to make their way to Verizon Center for the Hurricanes' morning skate.
After the skate ended, the team took a family picture at center ice to commemorate the weekend.
From there, it was gameday-as-usual for the players, which meant lunch and an afternoon nap at the hotel, while their guests took a city bus tour on what ended up being a rainy and windy afternoon.
Just after 6 p.m., the dads, sporting their white Canes road sweaters, arrived at Verizon Center.
The Hurricanes got off to a hot start, scoring just six seconds into their first power play of the game, and the dads were loving it.
The result didn't end in the Canes' favor, as they fell 6-1, but the group of dads, brothers and fathers-in-law take with them unforgettable memories of spending time on the road with one another.
"He's been having a blast. He's just glowing, smiling the whole time," Derek Ryan said of his father, Tim. "He told me at breakfast the other morning that it's right up there with getting married and having kids, one of those life experiences that he'll remember forever. I'm sure we'll cherish it and talk about it for many summers to come."
"It's been great. He's a funny guy. It's a cool moment for us," Noah Hanifin said of spending his first dads trip with his father, Robert. "Taking him out to these cities and showing him what it's like has been a lot of fun."
The trip offers the fathers a unique glimpse into their sons' everyday lives, lives they worked tirelessly as a parent to help create.
"My dad has probably been the biggest influence in my life hockey-wise. When I was a little kid, he was taking me to the rink, those long drives at 5 a.m. He supported me my whole life," Hanifin said. "It's a cool moment for us to share now that I finally got to the NHL, and it's cool to see my dad's reaction to all of it."
"Just as a whole being able to have him along for the whole experience - being on the plane, coming to the rinks, all those things that I get to experience by myself or with my teammates but not with my family. To experience that with him is something special," Ryan said. "It's just like a culmination of everything we've done throughout our hockey careers. It's respect to them, too. They battled through a lot of cold mornings taking us to practice, and we wouldn't be here without them. It's nice to see them in the stands."
Video: #CanesDads spent a weekend with their sons