News of J.P. Parise’s passing hit the State of Hockey hard. The former North Stars forward, and father to Wild forward Zach Parise, passed away after a long battle with lung cancer. He was 73.
The Parise family released this statement following his passing:
After a brave battle with lung cancer, J.P. Parise passed away peacefully at home Wednesday night with his family by his side. We appreciate the outpouring of support we have received from family, friends and the entire hockey community during this difficult time. J.P. was a great husband, father and grandpa and will be greatly missed by all of us.
The thoughts and prayers of the Minnesota Wild players and coaching staff are with their teammate and the family.
“We are thinking of him and his family,” Wild Head Coach Mike Yeo said. “Just try to be there for them.”
“Everybody faces tough times, but we face them as a team. We get through them together and we’re there for each other.”
Zach and J.P. have always been close, their bond: hockey. Wild defenseman Ryan Suter said that he and Zach recently spoke of how tight their relationship was and how fortunate he felt to have been near his father since signing with the Wild on July 4, 2012.
“I can’t imagine what he’s going through right now,” Suter said. “Just a good person, and it’s too bad that he’s gone.”
Suter, who signed a 13-year contract on the same day as Zach, has been there to support his teammate. Suter’s father, Bob, passed away before the start of the season.
“At least, the good thing is, we got to be here,” Suter said. “Just think if we would’ve signed other places, they wouldn’t have gotten to come to as many games as they did get a chance to come to.”
Last season, after J.P. was diagnosed with cancer, he was invited to travel with the Wild for games in Arizona, Los Angeles and Chicago. He saw his son score twice against the Coyotes, which eclipsed his NHL goal total of 238
“We’d have him come into the coaches room,” Yeo said. “I love being around former players like that and to hear him talk about the memories and how great it was for him.
J.P. Parise played in 890 career games with the Boston Bruins, Toronto Maple Leafs, North Stars and New York Islanders totaling 594 points (238-356=594). A two-time NHL All-Star, he played for Team Canada during the famous “Summit Series” against the Soviet Union in 1972. The game might’ve changed since his day, but J.P. loved how the camaraderie and brotherhood between players hasn’t.
“He joked that when the coach would come in and what he would say was, ‘Get ahead, stay ahead and don’t tire,’” Yeo said.
There has been an outpouring of tributes and support following the news of J.P.’s passing. His impact in Minnesota was felt by many, and not only as a member of the North Stars. After retiring from hockey, he stayed close to the game as the director and coach of Minnesota's Shattuck-St. Mary's high school, where sons Jordan and Zach played. Jordan, a goaltender, went on to play at the University of North Dakota, the American Hockey League and in Europe.
“When he talked about Jordy or Zach, it was always the same. He taught them what it was to be successful,” former North Stars teammate and long-time friend Tom Reid said. “J.P. was a success on the ice and off the ice.”
J.P. is survived by his wife, Donna, sons Jordan and Zach, and two children, Colette and Marc, from his first marriage, and six grandchildren.