The fathers of the Sharks players and coaches on the current trip to Chicago and Nashville are enjoying the experience – especially after last night’s 6-5 win in Chicago.
“It’s going great, we won,” said Ed Vlasic (Marc-Edouard), who unfortunately recalls the 8-0 loss in Phoenix from the Dad’s trip two years ago. “After the 8-0 game, I wasn’t sure they would want us back again.”
The fathers have appreciated being a part of every aspect of the trip short of actually skating on the ice.
“A lot of us haven’t been in the room before a game with them since they became too good for us to coach them,” Vlasic said.
“We were in the meeting before the game when they went over everything,” former NHLer Bernie Lukowich (Brad) said. “It was really interesting.”
What was truly special was the touching father-son video orchestrated by the coaching staff, with a great deal of assistance from Sharks Director of Broadcasting Frank Albin.
“Prior to the game, they showed us the film,” Vlasic said. “Some of the footage was from two years ago and each boy said something about what his dad did for him. We all got a copy.”
The video presentation was planned out, but it was a surprise to the fathers.
“We didn’t know about it,” Vlasic said. “I hope it got them pumped up. The whole room was quiet when it was on.”
The trip may have included first class plane accommodations and hotel stops, but it’s been the simple things -- like sitting together on the plane -- that have been the most fun for everyone involved.
“We just talked about the team,” Lukowich said. “We’re hanging out, walking to the rink together and having coffee in the morning.”
Several clubs have hosted such trips, but it’s a first for Lukowich, who played two years in the mid-1970s for Pittsburgh and St. Louis.
“This is the first time for me,” Lukowich said. “It’s too bad every team doesn’t do it.
The fathers are seated together for each game and they celebrate with each goal.
“It’s great when the team scores,” Lukowich said. “We high-five the dad like he scored the goal. It’s a lot of fun.”
Most of the fathers were meeting each other for the first time.
“I met (Dan) Boyle’s dad just to say ‘hi’ once,” Lukowich said.
Despite the early start of last night’s game in Chicago (6 p.m., CST), the team arrived late into Nashville. While Bernie Lukowich experienced the hard travel schedule during his playing days, the other fathers got to experience the rough travel in person.
“We got in pretty late and the players still had to be up even if they weren’t skating,” Vlasic said about Monday morning in Nashville.
This year’s Dad’s trip has many highlights – but the most important one will be the wins by the Sharks.
“The coolest moment was the win,” Vlasic said about Sunday night’s experience. “That’s why they’re here, to win. I hope they win tonight.”
NEXT GAME San Jose visits Nashville Monday for a 5 p.m. start and the contest will be available on CSN Bay Area, 98.5 KFOX and sjsharks.com.