Making the NHL - in any capacity - is an incredible accomplishment.
Player. Coach. General Manager. Or team president, like Paul Holmgren is now. No matter how you do, having made it at all is something to be celebrated. It takes an insane amount of work, effort, and of course, support from those around you.
Like Holmgren’s older brother, Dave, selflessly shelling out the equivalent of $800 today so he could go to a hockey camp at Bemidji State, a tale he relays in the Players’ Tribune.
Perhaps without Dave’s gift, I might still have gone on to play in the NHL — but I doubt it. Everything that I went on to do in hockey (including being a coach and a general manager) I owe to Dave.
Be warned, though: it’s a wonderful piece, but it’s also a serious emotional gut punch. Like, it’s a must read, but there may be a bit of tears to come with it, too. Because Holmgren’s brother went blind due to diabetes, so he never got to see what his little brother learned - and never had the chance to know he’d make the NHL.
It’s heavy, but it comes with some good life advice, too.
My memory of that day has always weighed on me. It’s the reason why I have always wanted to share this story. It’s so important for people to resolve issues, speak their minds and try to clear up misunderstandings. Once it becomes too late to do anything about something — even something minor — the guilt is impossible to shed.
So here’s to Dave Holmgren - with many thanks to Paul for sharing his story.