More than three decades as an educator have taught Karl Subban there's potential in every child and promise in each young life. It was as true of his children, who include Nashville Predators star defenseman P.K. Subban, as the thousands of others he mentored as a longtime teacher and principal in Canada.
The Subban patriarch uses sports and education as vehicles to examine fulfilling that capacity for greatness in his new book "How We Did It: The Subban Plan for Success in Hockey, School and Life." The book's release brought Subban to Nashville and Bridgestone Arena last week.
"Potential is the lens through which we must see all children," he explained. "That's what the book's about, believing in your potential and doing the right things to develop it."
Karl Subban and his wife, Maria, raised five children in Ontario, the youngest three of whom were all selected in the NHL Draft. Along with P.K., the 2013 Norris Trophy winner as the League's top defenseman, brother Malcolm plays for the Vegas Golden Knights and their youngest sibling, Jordan, is currently with Vancouver's AHL affiliate in Utica.
The Subbans' hockey roots started to take hold when Karl moved from his native Jamaica to Sudbury in northern Ontario at the age of 12. He landed on a street where every neighboring boy spoke French.
"I'm speaking my Jamaican Patois, but the one language we all understood was hockey. That was the power of sport," Subban recalled. "I wanted to be a cricket player, but my cricket bat became a hockey stick."
The Subbans passed on a love of skating to their children, first daughters Nastassia and Natasha and then the three boys. A young P.K. took to hockey at age four and Karl and Maria did everything they could to support his budding passion. Mirroring his personal mission in education, Karl wanted his son to strive to do more and be better.
"And I loved it," P.K. remembered. "My memories of playing hockey as a kid were always fun, and I think it becomes even more fun when you realize you're pretty good at it. And it becomes even more fun when you realize you can make a life and a career out of it."
While not all children may be destined to be professional athletes, each one of them has the potential for greatness within them, the author writes. Loving support and discipline can help unlock that, and parents and educators play an important role in shaping children's beliefs in themselves.