March 17, 2013 in Sports

Proud dad knew odds were long for son Tyler Johnson to make it to the NHL

Ken Johnson
 

Tyler Johnson started with youth hockey in Spokane 17 years ago. Today he’s in the NHL.
(Full-size photo)

Seventeen years ago, when my son, Tyler, was 5 years old, my wife, Debbie, and I spent an afternoon up at Eagles Ice-A-Rena. The reason we were there was to register Tyler

for his first season of youth hockey.

What I remember most is the youth hockey association had mandated all parents (at registration) to watch a video produced by USA Hockey. The video basically warned parents not to treat their youngsters as if they were NHL players. The video went on to explain that less than 1 percent of all youth hockey players make it to the NHL level.

Every parent of a youth sports child has seen it. That one or two “crazy” set of parents that think their kid is the cat’s meow and their child is destined for the pro leagues.

As Tyler began playing his youth hockey and started to get good at the game, I tried hard not to fall into that “crazy” parent category. Debbie and I did however try our best at giving Tyler what he needed for success. As long as he continued to enjoy playing, we were going to continue to support him, even if things might have been considered to fall into that “crazy” category.

When Tyler was 10 years old we started spending all of our vacation time on hockey. By the time Tyler turned 16, we’d been everywhere, or so it seemed.

Soon after his 17th birthday, Tyler was fortunate enough to play for his hometown Chiefs and with that came a college scholarship. In my mind, everything we’ve done in hockey to that point was worth every minute and every penny. Watching Tyler play for the Chiefs was the cream cheese icing on the cake.

Now it was Tyler’s turn to grow up and decide for himself what he wanted in life.

Fast forward five years and all he’s done was be a member of a CHL Memorial Cup Championship, World Junior Gold Medal and an AHL Calder Cup Championship. All that was left was to be a part of that less than 1 percent of all youth hockey players to play in the NHL.

On Thursday, Debbie and I spent the day traveling once again, this time across the country to Tampa Bay.

Well, Tyler, you did it! Your dream to play in the NHL came true. And Mom and Dad couldn’t be more proud.

Ken Johnson is a circulation district manager for The Spokesman-Review.

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