He’s an Ottawa guy who couldn’t be a better fit for the Bell Capital Cup.
Even if his own minor hockey playing days were long gone before the tournament grew into the mammoth event it has now become.
But Ottawa Senators defenceman Luke Richardson, who’s returned to his home town for his 20th National Hockey League season, has played a rather tangible role in expanding the puck festival’s participation numbers.
His two hockey-playing daughters are Bell Capital Cup veterans. One of them, 11-year-old Daron, even has a championship pedigree here, as she was part of a Columbus Blue Jackets team that edged the Capital Crusaders 2-1 for the minor atom A title in the 2006 tournament.
Daron Richardson is back for another go at it this year, this time with the National Capitals entry in the girls’ peewee AA division. Her 13-year-old sister, Morgan, has played in three Bell Capital Cups.
“It’s easy for me to get involved in it, because my one daughter (Daron) is still playing in it,” said Richardson, the honorary chairman for this year’s version of the Bell Capital Cup. “It’s a great tournament. When I was in Columbus (with the Blue Jackets), we came up for it with my oldest daughter (Morgan). That was my first chance to see it. It was well run and a pretty exciting thing.
“I remember when I was growing up in Ottawa, there was the Ottawa international tournament at that time after Christmas. That was the biggest thing all year to look forward to, hoping to get into the final game and get the jersey to wear, the tournament jersey.”
The Richardson family first arrived at the Bell Capital Cup during the NHL lockout season. They’ve been regulars here ever since.
“The first year, Morgan came up during the lockout,” said Richardson. “The next year, both girls came and they were playing for boys’ teams in Columbus ... they didn’t really have girls’ hockey.”
Last year, both girls were living in Ottawa and wore National Capitals colours in the tournament.
Richardson relishes the opportunity to “give back to what is special to you.”
“If you can give back to the kids by having someone from the NHL there, it’s a no-brainer to me,” he said. “I really enjoy going and supporting my kids’ minor hockey, and even other minor hockey through skills (clinics) and things like that.
“That’s the real game. The business is taken out of it most of the time—sometimes politics gets involved—but it’s kind of fun to watch kids grow and learn.”
The veteran Senators blueliner still has fond memories of his minor hockey years with the Ottawa West Golden Knights.
“I still have a lot of friends I keep in touch with from Ottawa West,” said Richardson. “It’s life lessons within a game. The good coaches teach you a lot about even life, just from things you have to deal with on the teams and on the ice, the good situations and the bad situations. The friendships and the learning experiences are invaluable.”
Richardson follows in the footsteps of Anton Volchenkov and Patrick Eaves as Senators who have worn the honorary chairman title for the Bell Capital Cup. Tournament general manager Aaron Robinson said he’s an ideal choice.
“Luke’s come home to Ottawa and being a (former) Ottawa West Golden Knight ... he’s a great fit, considering he’s grown up through the minor hockey system in Ottawa.”For all the latest tournament information and schedules, visit www.bellcapitalcup.ca