Every person has a role model. A person who has influenced them the most in their lives. For some of the pro players, it has been their childhood idols that they have looked up to and that have inspired them on with their professional careers. For me on a hockey level there have been and there are players I look up to. Saku Koivu, Mikko Koivu, Alex Ovechkin, Vinny Lecavalier, Martin St.Louis, Jarome Iginla, Teemu Selanne and Jari Kurri to mention just a few of the players that I look up to and would love to trade places or skills with.
However I would have to say that the greatest role models I have is my family, my mum, dad and my brother. My mum and dad instilled me with the work ethic and how to deal with a variety of things. I don't think anyone could've gotten a better up bringing than me and my brother. My dad was not only a great influence and support for sports but for showing me what it means to be a man and provide for a family. During my days of playing in Holland, he was always able to give me pointers on improving my game and I'm sure that if it wasn't for his advice and recommendations I wouldn't have found the spark to push myself at this stage of my playing 'career'.
My mum instilled me with awareness and gave me so much self confidence. Yeah when it comes to sport, or hockey, I think my mum is more concerned about me walking away from the game unscratched, but its hockey, I have to get my nose dirty at times. In hockey terms she taught me to keep my head up during games. Outside of the rink, she taught me how to keep myself healthy and how to provide myself a meal. Ofcourse the list could go on and on for both my parents.
My brother has really been the ying to my yang, if I must use that corny and overused term. He has helped me put alot of things into perspective at times and has taught me a great deal of soul searching and what I want to do and accomplish. I cherish the time I get to spend with him as he completelly makes me forget all the crap that I have in my mind and I can laugh my head off at dumb things.
Then there is my wife. Though people often wrongly call women, or wives the ball and chain, I have nothing but good things to say about mine. She is understanding of the choices I make and understands me probably better than I do. She's always there to pick me up when I'm having a bad day and is able to take my mind off things when I want to focus on the game. I think before a game she notices when I'm over thinking things so she takes my mind off of the game and get's me doing something else.
This post isn't intended as a family tribute or a thank you, but it is a tribute to my role models and to the people who make all of my playing possible. It is these people that help me keep things in focus and play the game with a smile on my face. If it wasn't for them I probably would've hung up the skates ages ago. Every person needs an understanding and supporting background to achieve anything. I would go as far to say that I have been blessed with a foundation of people I know I can rely on when I need them. I should think that everything I do on the ice is possible because of the people I mentioned above.