Let them be Little
December 30th 2014, The Blackhawks step off the plane in Washington DC, their families in tow Jonathan Toews walks off the plane holding his wife Jessica’s hand with his right and in his left his 5 year old daughter Cassie squints in the sun “Daddy it’s bright” she says with a giggle and Jon nods in agreement. Patrick Kane steps off the plane behind them holding the hand of his 6 year old son Ryan who is toggled between himself and his wife Ally “Daddy, is the ice gonna melt?” he asks concerned etched in his features “No way buddy” Patrick consoles “It’s much too cold for that”.
The players and families make their way to their hotel and get checked in before heading over to National’s stadium to see the ice in person for the first time all of the players kids enter the field with wide eyes and take off down different paths to check the whole place out. “Cassie” Jon yells after the little girl happily playing with one of his teammates children “Stay where mommy and daddy can see you” Jessica just shakes her head and pulls her husband along letting the little girl get back to playing with her friends.
As the kids and the guys get in a bit of a workout before practice the wives stand around drinking warm cups of coffee, talking and keeping one eye on their children at all times. “Ryan” Patrick yells across the field as the 6 year old sneaks up to touch the mini Capital building sitting on the field “Ryan Andrew Kane!” he yells this time the blonde headed mini version if his father stops cold “Do not touch that!” the little boy hangs his head and makes his way over towards where the other kids are playing.
“I don’t get it” Ally says to the rest of the wives and girlfriends standing around she points at her husband lining up for a drill “He yells at Ryan, for trying to do something you know he’s going to do later” she says with a laugh
“They never grow up” Patrick Sharp’s wife chimes in and all the wives nod in agreement
“And yet they can’t let them be little” Jessica adds rolling her eyes as Jon bounces the puck off the glass making a few of the older kids standing close by jump.
After practice they all head back to the hotel to relax before family skate that night. Jon tucks Cassie in to the large hotel bed and puts a pillow on either side of her so she doesn’t roll out and kisses her forehead walking out of the bedroom part of the suite closing the door for her to take her nap. Jon and Jessica sit down on the large couch turning on a movie, not even an hour late they hear the door open “What’s wrong Cassie” Jessica asks picking her head up off of her husband’s shoulder to face the little girl her brown curls tousled everywhere from being obviously restless.
“Mommy I can’t sleep” she says rubbing her eyes and Jessica motions for her to come join them on the couch
“Cassie if you don’t take your nap, you can’t go to family skate tonight because you’ll be grumpy” Jon chides
“Daddy I tried” she whines cuddling into her mother who turns the tv channel to something more age appropriate
“Did you really?” he asks eyebrows raised and the little girl nods, Jessica hits him in the arm as he’s about to say something else
“She’ll fall asleep here” she says pulling the blanket over her daughter’s shoulders
“You spoil her Jess” he counter acts and Jessica rolls her eyes
“She’s five years old; we’re not all used to sleeping in hotel rooms Jonathan” she says, which quickly squashes any debate beyond that point, they fall silent and a few minutes later Cassie falls asleep.
As they all make their way back to the stadium Coach Quenneville calls the players out onto the ice before the wives, girlfriends, children, and player’s parents take the ice with them.
“Boys, in a few minutes, your families are going to come out of the same tunnel you did today, and the same one you’ll come out of tomorrow to play a game. I want you to keep that in mind when they walk out here, the game is tomorrow. We’re just coming up on the halfway point of the season, there’s more time to worry about games and standings and playoffs, and you can all bet your asses I want you thinking about that tomorrow. But that’s tomorrow, tonight I want you to think about how it’s your kids first time to skate on NHL ice, or it’s their first time outside. Maybe it’s the first time your mom will be on the ice, or the first time your old man has laced up skates in 30 years. Hold your wife’s hand, skate with your kids, and race your dad. Have fun; let the game be tomorrow tonight it’s about them. And one last thing I’m not going to name names here but I’ve heard a couple guys today, Tazer, Kaner, corral your kids today. Do me a favor let them be little, if they fall this goes for all of you let them cry and whine pick them up and make them laugh again. You’re not going to get many opportunities like this boys, don’t waste it damn it. Now that I’ve been all sentimental and shit, get your ugly mugs out of face” he says laughing and shooing the guys away as the families make their way onto the ice.
“Dad! Watch this” Ryan yells towards Patrick who’s skating holding Ally’s hand he does his best to imitate his father’s stick handling with a foam ball on the ice Patrick holds back a laugh as the ball gets away from him and he chases after it, when he turns towards his dad blue eyes shining under the light Patrick gives him the thumbs up and watches as Ryan’s face lights up
“That was not even close” Ally laughs in his ear and Patrick smiles
“He’ll get it, he’s only 6” he says with a smile and watches his son concentrate more furrowing his eyebrows and sticking his tongue out trying his best to keep the ball in front of him.
“Daddy again!” Cassie pants out in a laugh sitting on a sled in the middle of the ice Jon laughs with her before giving the sled a push sending the little girl flying across the ice a howl of a laugh coming from her as she slides and spins towards Patrick Sharp who stops her and sends her sliding back towards her dad.
Both guys see the collision before it happens “RYAN WATCH OUT” Jon and Patrick yell at the same time but it’s too late as Cassie’s sled slams into him sending the six year old toppling onto her tiny frame. Both dad’s sprint towards the middle of the ice scooping up their kids before the first howl of a cry can escape either sad little face
“You okay buddy” Patrick asks setting his son on his feet and checking him over quickly for bruises the little boy nods with tears in his eyes and Patrick frowns “Where does it hurt bud?” he asks concerned and his son shakes his head “Just kinda scare you?” he asks and the little boy nods burrowing his head in his father’s chest “You’re okay Ry, daddy’s right here”
“You ok princess?” Jon asks the little girl sobbing in his arms she refuses to look up at him “Come on baby, tell daddy where it hurts. I can’t fix it if I don’t know where it hurts” he carefully puts her down on the ice and checks her over for bruises, he takes a tissue from Jessica’s outstretched hand to wipe her eyes and nose and makes a point to tickle her through her jacket until she laughs “Do you want to skate with daddy for a little bit?” he asks the sniffling little girl who nods and pulls down her hat before reaching for her father’s outstretched arms
The guys make their way back to their temporary locker room after their warm up. Shortly before Coach comes in to give his final pep talk and announce the starting line up the families come in to wish them luck before heading to their suites. The kids run around the locker room playing and laughing while wives and girlfriends and parents say their good lucks. Finally the kids settle down some saying their good lucks to their dads and giving them hugs or high fives
“Daddy are you gonna do the thing where you go like this and then you do that, and then you do this and bam score?!” Ryan asks excitedly flailing his arms
“I will certainly try that bud” Patrick says with a laugh giving his son a high five
“Ok good cause that’s my favorite part” he says heading towards the kids playing again
“Any requests from you?” Patrick asks Ally who laughs with a nod
“Yeah the usual, don’t get seriously hurt. I love you” she says standing on her tip toes to kiss him
“I will certainly try that as well. And I love you too” he says with a smile
“Cassie, come wish daddy good luck” Jessica says to the little girl sitting on the floor playing with her dolls she gets up and comes closer to her dad before stopping short and scrunching up her face
“Daddy, you smell nasty” she says pinching her nose
“Cassie Elizabeth, that is not nice” Jessica says scolding the little girl who pouts
“I’m sorry Daddy, but it’s not a nice smell” she says quickly hugging him when he bends down to her height “I still love you though!” she adds before skipping her way back to the other kids to play
“Well do I get a kiss from you, or do you think I smell bad too?” Jon asks a joking pout on his face and Jessica just laughs
“Well, you do smell bad; I have to admit she’s right there. But I guess after 7 years I should be used to the smell so I suppose I could give you a kiss”
“Well, if it’s not willing, if you need to be forced then maybe I don’t want one. My own wife and daughter, only using me to open jars and smell good” he says faking a sniffle, Jessica just smiles pulling him closer to her by the sides of his jersey
“Nah, I also kinda love you too” he smiles down at her and bends to give her a kiss. “Now go win. I’ll make sure the little booger behaves”
“Nah, she’s fine, I mean she is only five, and she will only be little once. Let her enjoy it. Oh I love you too by the way”
The families make their way to the suite after saying their goodbyes and Jessica and Ally are talking watching their kids play on the floor while they wait for the puck to drop.
“I wonder what got into Pat and Johnny, yesterday they were both barking orders at the kids and then last night…” Ally says trailing off
“They were like sweet superdad’s? Yeah I noticed that too” Jessica says
“Oh there goes my softie Joel again” Mrs. Quenneville chimes in “He always acts like the tough guy with the team but there’s just something about family skates that brings out the dad in him. Every time he notices one of the players being a little too tough on their kids he gives them a speech about enjoying their kids being kids. I’ve heard it once, it’s touching, I’m assuming because of your guys they got it yesterday.”
The girls just laugh and shake their heads “Well do us a favor and thank him for us” Ally says and Mrs. Quenneville nods with a smile just as the puck drops.
Song, Let Them Be Little- Lonestar
I am always taking requests, I'd like to have more of the lesser known players and not just write about superstars. But I only have so much knowledge of hockey player names and the teams they belong to. And really I could not resist doing an adorable Kaner/Tazer as daddy's moment even if the winter classic did not turn out the way I hoped!