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A Family Affair On The Road

by Staff Writer / New York Islanders

The Islanders have some very special guests along for the ride during their Florida road trip. Tagged as "Dad's Week," the Islanders players and coaches had the rare opportunity to bring their father or special guest with them on the road to see what they do day-in-and-day-out in the NHL.

Each day, four of the father's—Doug Weight, George Comeau, Robert Thompson and Stan Hunter—will contribute to this blog, keeping fans posted on how the trip is going.

 

DAY 3

MY SON PLAYS PSYCHIC

Posted By: Doug Weight, Doug’s Dad
Posted On: Saturday, February 7 at 3:43 pm

Yesterday, eight of us ended up going on a last minute boat ride. I was expecting to sit down as the captain, with drinks being served to me, but that wasn’t the case. We took out a center console, had no skipper, no charts and no GPS. The eight of us just took off with no idea where we were going, so we just went exploring.

We entered this narrow channel and my son decided out of nowhere to play tour guide. He pointed at some house that we were passing by and said “here on your right is Vinny Lecavalier’s house,” having no idea whose house that was.  Sure enough, seconds later, out walked Vinny Lecavalier from the same house with a cell phone. It was kind of freaky--something out of some psychic show. We stopped to talk to him from the boat before moving on. We stopped at Rick’s for food and then headed back.

From our room, we have great view of the harbor. There are boats of all sizes lined up so close to one another than you can walk across from boat to boat. Small Cruisers, large yachts and everything in between are parked in all different directions.

I was forced by the other dads to go down and take part in the festivities. With all of the noise, I don’t know how Doug slept through it all.


A GREAT GAME OF GOLF
Posted By: Stan Hunter, Trent’s Dad
Posted On: Saturday, February 7 at 3:20 pm

We went out and had a great game of golf yesterday. Trent and I were with the Okposos and it was a great day--nice and warm.

What was most talked about was that we lost so many balls. There was a large amount of water. On one side, you’d have water and the other side you’d have townhouses. We donated a few balls to the alligators. We saw a few snakes. After we saw the first snake, we decided to not go looking for our lost balls. We didn’t feel like taking any chances. Nobody was upset if they hit a bad shot, we were just having fun out there.

Today, there is a big Mardi Gras celebration by the pier. There are people everywhere and easily a thousand boats. There is loud banging coming from the fire ship, which is coming in to steal the key from the city.

Now we’re just getting ready for the game tonight. It’s been great hanging out with Trent and all of the dads, but the best part has been going to the games.


 
 
A FANTASTIC TRIP
Posted By: Robert Thompson, Nate’s Dad
Posted On: Saturday, February 7 at 11 am

We had a really fun day yesterday. Nate wasn't feeling too well, so he stayed in for most of the day, but Dougie and Bill and Andy and the dads rented a boat and we cruised around the Tampa waterways. It was a really fun time. We followed that up with a nice dinner and checked out the town a little bit.

This has continued to be a great bonding time with our kids. It is pretty amazing that they’re so grown up, because sometimes you think of them as boys, and then you realize that they are incredible young men. It is hard to describe, really. There are so many words. Pride, Satisfaction, Love, Appreciation, Thankfulness.

This is a fantastic opportunity, and every team in the league should consider it. Most of these dads played such a big role on the development of these kids. To feel the fulfillment of their dreams and to see them as part of a team, and an NHL hockey player, is really amazing. To witness the reality of their dreams coming true.

As a hockey dad, you always look forward to watching your son play, and it will be tough tonight for me know that Nate will not be playing. But I certainly enjoy the other young men’s success, and of course the team’s success.

Overall, I have had just a fantastic time on this trip.


DAY 2

 
 
THERE FOR HIS SON
Posted By: Robert Thompson, Nate’s Dad
Posted On: Friday, February 6 at 11 am

Robert and Nate Thompson
We had just a fantastic day. Many of us started the day with a nice walk and later on had a great team lunch. Many of the dads hung out for much of the day and sat by the water and shared stories about the kids growing up. We talked about the team and about our lives in general. It was just a great time of bonding for the dads.

Unfortunately, Nate got injured in the first period. It is one of those things where you are in the wrong place and the wrong position at the wrong time. There’s not too much you can do about it. I went down and stayed with Nate for rest of the game and hung out with him.  It was nice to be able to be there for him. That was actually very cool. You know, it’s not very often that you can be there when your son really needs you in the aftermath of getting injured.

I’m going to drag him out of the room today and we are going to try and take a boat ride or do something a little different. We have a pretty open schedule today so it’s just going to be a fantastic day to spend with our kids in this beautiful weather.


Blake and George Comeau
TAKING IN THE SIGHTS
Posted By: George Comeau, Blake’s Dad
Posted On: Friday, February 6 at 11:30 am

We took it easy in the morning and took a walk, although it was pretty windy and cold down by the water. We looked at all of the beautiful yachts down there. I tried to catch up on some sleep and when I woke up, it was pretty much time to head down to the rink.

The game worked out really great, it is a beautiful rink, and all of the dads for most part are sitting together in the stands.  It was a really nice atmosphere, and a good game, it was just too bad we couldn’t get the two points. It was a good effort by the guys and we’ll look forward to getting two points in the next game. As a parent, you always want to see your son and the team do well, but they were playing against a pretty good team so you just take it as it comes.

We are hoping to do some fishing today, but we have to see what the ocean is like and see what the weather and temperature is.


Stan and Trent Hunter
A PROUD FATHER
Posted By: Stan Hunter, Trent’s Dad
Posted On: Friday, February 6 at 1 pm
 
It’s always great to see your kid score. As luck would have it, he seems to get one when I’m hanging around. For any dad, you want to see your son do something good. I gave the thumbs up to Josh’s dad after the goal. Just like the kids, you appreciate those who help contribute to your success.
 
Watching the game with other fathers is kind of like watching games with other parents when you’re kids are younger. It’s the same kind of thing, but at a different level. Back then, you never thought they could get to this level, but we’re fortunate they are. All of us get along great and it’s been a fun atmosphere. 
 
Getting on a plane after the game is part of the experience. It was first class all the way. It’s another opportunity to do some more bonding. You get to see how they react after the game. It wasn’t the same as a win, but by the same token, the boys played a good hockey game in the second and third. There were a few opportunities that could have bounced the right way. We’re looking forward to the next game.
 
We ended up getting into our hotel pretty late, so we slept in a little today. A few of us are going out to hit some golf balls. It’s a little warmer today than yesterday and it’s not too windy. Trent and I will be out there with Garrett Timms (head athletic trainer) and his dad and the Gervais. There is no question that my son is better than me at golf. He’s more perfected than I am. But that comes along with having the skills in hockey. I don’t try to keep up with him.
 
 
Doug Weight and his Dad, Doug
FRIENDLY JOSHING
Posted By: Doug Weight, Doug’s Dad
Posted On: Friday, February 6 at 12:30 pm
 
I had the chance to finally meet Mr. Comrie. He raised his son in Edmonton and then when Mike came to the Oilers, he had to change his number from 39 to 89 because my son was already wearing 39. It was interesting to hear a little history about Mr. Comrie and his family. Then when Doug and Mike collided in the game, it made for some good video on the plane.
 
During the game we were riding Stan Hunter because some beautiful reporter came up to talk to him. Stan never heard the end of that.
 
It’s great watching the game with all of the fathers around. Of course you want to watch the game, but you miss a lot because you’re also talking. You just try to enjoy everything.
 
Normally, I’d be fine traveling after the game, but because I’m still under the weather, it was tough having the security check for the plane outside. The weather has been crazy here in Florida with it being so cold. But everything went smoothly and the guys were back playing their cards and scrabble once we got on the plane. I’m just trying to fit in.
 
Today I’m just going to play it by ear. Some guys are going deep-sea fishing and playing golf. I’m going to let my son play the anchor. We’ll probably just take it easy and scope out the marina, since I am a boat nut. It’s nice to not have to be mentally prepared and just have your kid lead you around.

DAY ONE

SOME SON AND DAD TIME

Posted By: George Comeau, Blake’s dad
Posted On: February 5, 10:05 am

We got here yesterday and we brought some weather from Canada with us because it was quite cool. We went out for a nice meal and after the boys retired, the dads found some “Elbow Room” to do some bonding and it was a great evening. (The restaurant was actually called The Elbow Room). It was great, there was some live music and we had a great time getting to know all of the dads.

For me personally, I’m looking forward to going out with Blake today to just explore and relax. It’s been great to be together so far and be able to kick back and have some conversations. Just to have some son and dad time.


 
 
A GOOD START TO THE TRIP
Posted By: Stan Hunter, Trent’s dad
Posted On: February 5, 10:30 am
 
It’s always great to hop on the charter plane for this trip. You see how great the team gets along on the ice, and now you see how great they get along off the ice. I was sitting near the Weights, Mr. Campoli and Mr. Sim on the plane. Most of the plane ride was all about chatting. There was a little card game going on, but I didn’t get into that.
 
We got to our hotel a little later than anticipated because of the bus trip from the airport to the hotel. We re-grouped at the hotel and went out had a beer and supper at some nice local steak place. The service was great, but business is a little slow here because of the weather. It got down to 35 last night, which is cold for Florida, but still better than Alberta. It’s starting to warm up today, which is nice. 
 
This morning, some of us went out for a stroll and just walked around a bit. We’ll probably take part in the pre-game meal at noon, but other than that, we haven’t made any plans.
 
It’s been good to catch up with some fathers from past trips. I’m definitely closest to those, but the new guys are fitting in well. Everyone always has smile on their face and it’s been all positive stuff.


 
 
SHARING THE SAME EXPERIENCES
Posted By: Robert Thompson, Nate’s dad
Posted On: February 5, 10:45 am

We’ve had just a fantastic time so far.  Flying on the team jet was really something—talk about a first-class experience. Nate and I sat back and watched a movie, worked on the computer and it was a great flight.

I really love the bonding and the whole experience of seeing what our sons are doing and what they’re going through. We had a wonderful dinner last night and it was really nice to meet the other dads and the other players on the team. Meeting the other dads—there are tons of similarities in our experiences. We’ve all devoted a lot of time and energy to help these young men develop their skills and talents. That’s been a real cool thing, to be with other people who have watched the boys realize their dreams in a sport that they’ve grown up with a passion for.

We’ll check out of the hotel later this afternoon and we’ll head over to the rink to watch the game tonight and we’ll fly to Tampa tonight.


 

EACH DAD HAS THEIR OWN STORY
Posted By: Doug Weight, Doug’s dad
Posted On: February 5, 11:08 am
 

I’ve been on a number of these trips with Doug, but they’re always great. You get to meet all the dads, and now they’re from all over the world. It was interesting meeting someone from Denmark (Frans Nielsen’s dad) on this trip. You talk to each other about having kids in the league and each guy has a story to tell. It’s fun for us. Plus, the meals are free.
 
You also learn to appreciate what they go through. It’s not easy getting on a plane so late and getting home at 4 in the morning. You think they’re in the best hotels and it’s just a bowl of cherries, but there’s a whole lot of waiting and scheduling. Once you do it yourself, you wonder how they don’t run out of gas.
 
On the plane, I was sitting with Bill Guerin’s father-in-law. I’ve been with him on a couple of occasions, including the All-Star Game and when Doug and Billy played on the U.S. team together.
 
There was absolutely no hockey talk on the plane. They drink and sleep the game, so you need to put it away. Guys just relaxed and played cards. One thing us old-timers noticed is that the guys can’t just play cards. They play scrabble in their left hand on their phone, while doing a crossword puzzle on the side. We wonder if they’re enjoying any one of them. They can’t just do one thing.
 
Once we arrived at our hotel, we went as a big group down the road on the ocean to an open-air tavern and then the groups split up to smaller factions. I had dinner with Doug, Billy and his father-in-law, Simmer and his dad, Jackman and his dad and MacDonald. You can imagine, there weren’t too many quiet moments between Doug and Billy.
 
I’ve been sick recently and pushed a little too hard yesterday, so I’ll probably be taking it a little easier today. Doug is doing his workout and I’m just relaxing, letting the world pass by in front of my eyes. I’ll be going to the pre-game meal at noon and then it’s off to the rink. We’re hoping we can bring some continued success to the team as they go for their fifth straight win.
 
 
CHECK BACK TOMORROW FOR MORE FROM THE "DADS"

Click here to read what some of the Islanders, their fathers and special guests had to say before leaving on this special trip.
 
 
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