Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Wish trip Day 5: The good 'ol hockey game

There are many father-son moments I'll never be able to have with Dominic, but tonight we scratched one off the bucket list: We went to a hockey game.

He'd only been to one professional sports contest before, a CFL game in Calgary during which a photo I took of him won a contest and was displayed on the big screen at McMahon Stadium. He was diagnosed with cancer a few months later, before the NHL season began.

A few members of the Calgary Flames visited him last year in hospital, but our wish trip resulted in an extraordinary opportunity courtesy of Vancouver Canucks head coach Willie Desjardins and his wife, Rhonda.

I didn't ask specifically but our impression after tonight's 3-2 win for the good guys over the New York Islanders is that a lot of strings were pulled behind the scenes. We got to park in a stall at Rogers Arena reserved just for us. Up the elevator and there were tickets and a bag of goodies for him. A jersey with "Rooney" on the back of it and the number 15 for the year. A miniature goalie stick, a stuffed animal, a blanket and a Zamboni toy.

Then we got to sit in a private box suite, stocked with incredible food, drink and a ridiculous view of the action.

Rhonda, her son Jace and Joanne Lidster, wife of Canucks assistant coach Doug, were amazing with Dominic, who rewarded their attention with a busy night of opening and shutting drawers and food lids in the suite. Trish and I tried to get him to watch as much of the game as we could, but he was more interested in eating Smarties.

Then, in the second period, a Canucks videographer steps in the suite, followed by Fin, the team mascot. What ensued was perhaps the most adorable five minutes you'll never see. I took a few photos when Dom put his soother in Fin the orca whale's mouth, but alas they never showed any of the video they took on the big screen later in the game. Suffice to say Dom did everything he could as if it was some sort of audition tape. Blown kisses, waves, high fives, endless smiles and giggles, you name it. He couldn't get enough of the spotlight.

Every once in a while he'd snuggle up to Trish and ask for his blanket. Already well past his bedtime, we figured that would be it. But each time, five minutes later he'd be back roaming the suite with a second, third or fourth wind.

When ex-Medicine Hat Tiger Linden Vey scored a breakaway goal on an assist from another ex-Tiger Derek Dorsett, I held Dominic aloft as the entire arena cheered. He clapped and giggled. It was all I could do to keep from crying as I hugged him.

Most parents get moments like this routinely. As the pandemonium rang out around us, I couldn't help but think I don't know how many we have left.

That's what this week is about. I wish it never had to end. And so, in our fire engine red basement, there will be some blue and green from now on.


  1. What beautiful, fun moments! I loved reading about your time at the hockey game and seeing the adorable photos! So wonderful to see Dominic having such fun and to hear all about your magical night with him. Thanks again for sharing. Also, so glad you were able to extend your trip! :-)

  2. Wow! What a night to remember!
    Thanks for sharing.

  3. Such precious family moments. (((hugs)))

  4. Precious family moments. (((hugs)))

  5. this entry along with all your other entries bring me to tears. Dom is such a beautiful soul and i'm so happy to read you got to have this adventure with him, smiling, loving, happy. These memories will forever be with you. Thinking of you all often. xoxo a fellow cancer parent.

  6. Wow - what a special night for you, Trish and Dominic. I had smiles while I read your blog post not once or twice but three times. What a wonderful memory you will have to keep for the rest of your life and kudos to all those who helped to make it happen. Not it's not Disneyworld but in reading your posts, this sounds like it's so much better. Enjoy your time in Vancouver making lots of wonderful memories.

    Betsy Dunphy

  7. Amazing memories on an amazing night for your family - so happy you got to do this! I love the pic with Fin & Dom! :) <3

  8. so happy for you and your family... enjoy each and every moment...

  9. Marilyn Heckbert9 January 2015 at 07:13

    Every moment, every day is precious and I was so touched by your story.
    Keep the love in your heart and a smile on your face and enjoy today.