Photo: Monumental Network
ESPN’s Scott Burnside traveled with the Washington Capitals to document the team’s recent annual fathers trip. The whole story is a great read, but my favorite snippet was about Braden Holtby.
Holtby’s father Greg, who was once a junior goaltender with the Saskatoon Blades, revealed that he hoped his son would someday take over the family’s farm. Instead of being the Holtbeast, Braden could have been the Holtcattleherder-– which doesn’t really have the same ring to it.
Greg was, in Burnside’s words, “unfailingly supportive” of tiny Braden’s dream of being a NHL goaltender.
“Things like that, it’s hard to talk about because you can’t really put it into words what they’ve done for us,” Braden said to Burnside. “Like I said, you try and single out certain things from a lifetime of lessons being learned. And obviously that’s a huge thing that my dad has taught me is accept who I am and just do it regardless of what other people think.
“I knew I wanted to be a goalie. I knew I liked certain things that may have not coincided with farming or whatever, and he didn’t care as long as I was passionate about it and worked hard about it, he didn’t care what it was. That’s basically how you make yourself happy is doing what you want to do.”
The farm, which is located just outside Lloydminster, Saskatchewan, is owned by Holtby’s parents. According to the National Post, the farm holds 6,000 acres for grain and about 500 head of beef cattle. The couple also run a small store together. Braden’s sister Taryn, who is also an accomplished curler, and her husband help out on the farm.
Meanwhile, Braden’s path led him to be a goaltender for that same Saskatoon Blades team his dad played on. A few years later, he was drafted by the Washington Capitals. Now he’s one of the best goalies in the NHL.
All because his parents were supportive of his wacky dream.
Braden is passing this same lesson down to his own son Benjamin, who skated for the first time recently.
A few years ago, I asked Braden if someday there might be three generations of Holtby goalies.
“Oh, I hope not,” the Caps goaltender said. “It’s not as stressful for him. It’d be more stressful for the parents. But no, whatever he wants to do he can do.”
That’s the same thing my dad and mom said to me way back in 2002 when I said my dream was to work with the Capitals someday. Anything is possible with your own hard work and the full support of loving parents.
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