NEW YORK -- St. Louis Blues forward Tage Thompson knows his father isn't going to be able to attend many of his games, so it's extremely special when he's able to be in the building.
Tage is the son of Brent Thompson, who is coach of Bridgeport in the American Hockey League. With father and son on different levels and often involved in games on the same night, it's difficult for the two to get together.
But Brent was at Barclays Center on Monday to see his son and the Blues reel off their third straight win, a 3-2 shootout victory against the New York Islanders. Bridgeport is the Islanders' AHL affiliate.
It provided a chance for Tage to thank his family for the sacrifices they made to help him reach the sport's highest level, an opportunity Tage knows may not have been possible without all the knowledge his father passed on to him.
Brent, who was a defenseman, played 121 NHL games with the Los Angeles Kings, Winnipeg Jets and Phoenix Coyotes over a career that lasted 15 seasons. He's been coaching for the past 12 years.
"It was huge," Tage said. "Obviously, he played it and went through it and now he coaches. He knows the game very well. Growing up in the hockey world helps tremendously. It makes it an easy transition. You already know what to expect, the locker room atmosphere, what coaches expect from you … I think it just makes it that much easier when you grow up around it."
Tage had 64 points in two seasons with the University of Connecticut and was the Blues' first-round pick (No. 26) at the 2016 NHL Draft. While he followed in his father's footsteps to the NHL, he didn't want to play the same position.
"From an early age, he tried to put me on defense," said Tage, who turns 20 on Oct. 30. "I just liked scoring goals. I guess that's just how it worked out. I'm just glad he's helping me along the way. It's obviously awesome."
Brent was also in the building for his son's NHL debut last Wednesday, when the Blues opened the season with a 5-4 overtime win at the Pittsburgh Penguins. It was a night he won't ever forget.
"It was awesome," Brent said. "Unbelievable experience, you get to see your kid basically live one of his dreams, so it was funny to be able to experience it with him. Both my wife and I got to be there and talked with him after, so it was nice."
Brent was playing with Hartford of the AHL when Tage was born in 1997. It wasn't long before he put skates on his son.
"As soon as he could walk," Brent said. "It was a lot of fun to have him out there.
"You always hoped he could make it to [the NHL], but I noticed his skill set at a young age. The separation was the passion kind of took over in his teen years. He just fell in love with the game. It was all about hockey all the time. I think that's when I knew that there was something there. A couple of breaks here and there and he could make it."
Tage is still seeking his first point in the NHL, and he knows the chances of his father being in attendance when that happens are slim; Bridgeport's season got underway Saturday.
"Anytime he gets to come out to one of my games, it's a rare occasion," Tage said. "Having him in the building makes it that much more special. It's new to me obviously playing in the NHL. I'm glad I can share it with him."