When Minnesota Wild forward Zach Parise found out his father had lung cancer, he said, "Hockey was probably the last thing on my mind."
But some time on the road with his dad and his teammates made him feel a little better.
Parise has shared some personal thoughts about his father, Jean-Paul Parise, in a special video presentation for Hockey Fights Cancer.
"It's tough to go through," Parise said in the video. "But now the whole Hockey Fights Cancer thing, and what they do around the League now, it just means a little something different, when someone that you're really close to is going through it and battling it."
Left Wing - MIN
GOALS: 2 | ASST: 2 | PTS: 4
SOG: 27 | +/-: 5
J.P. Parise was diagnosed with lung cancer in February and was told he had two years to live. Zach's family found out while he was playing for the United States in the 2014 Sochi Olympics, and he was not told until he returned to Minnesota.
"I can't even describe the emotions that I was going through," Parise said. "It was terrible, of course, then your first question is, 'How long do they give him?' Then when my mom told me that, kind of everything stopped and it was terrible for the next couple days. You find yourself just spacing out, thinking about it, and breaking down. ... That first while was really hard on our family.
"[I was] just kind of numb to everything," Parise continued. "And I remember telling my wife, 'I don't even want to go on the trip.' I didn't want to play, just didn't want to do anything, just wanted to go see him and spend some time with him, spend some time with my own kids. Hockey was probably the last thing on my mind at that time."
Soon after, the Wild made arrangements for J.P. Parise, 72, to accompany the team on a road trip, allowing Zach to spend time with his dad, who attended meetings and team meals, reminding him of his days as a player and assistant coach in the NHL.
"I'm sure it was something that he'll never forget, and I know I won't," Zach said. "It was a really good trip."
In the seven-minute video, Zach mentions how fortunate he is to be home, after signing with the Wild as a free agent in 2012 following seven seasons with the New Jersey Devils.
Parise last month told NHL.com writer Dan Rosen that being close to his dad helps both of them.
"You never say you'll use this as motivation. That's not right," Parise said in a Five Questions interview. "But I just know he loves watching me play and how much he loves going to the games and being able to watch the games whether it's in person or on TV, so it's really important to me that I try as hard as I can to play my best. I know how happy he gets watching when I do well, when our team does well. I know how happy that makes him. ..."
Hockey Fights Cancer is an initiative founded in December 1998 by the NHL and the NHL Players' Association to raise money and awareness. It supports national and local cancer research institutions, children's hospitals, player charities and local cancer organizations.