A pillar of support. A motivational speaker. An ultimate leader. An analyst. A cheerleader. A sports psychologist. A shoulder to cry on. An incredible source of inspiration and strength, but most of all a loving wife and mother. Tina Richard epitomizes all of this and more, she embodies the true meaning of a hockey mom.
Like so many other families across the country, the game of hockey has been a way of life for the Richard family. When Tina and Daniel Richard’s sons Mark and Jeremie were old enough to walk they had skates strapped to their feet.
The Richard’s wanted their sons to learn and experience all the life lessons the game has to offer. In a very short time, the passion of sport and love of hockey forged a family bond like no other. All the trips to the rink for practices and games and juggling the fast-paced world of the minor hockey ranks into elite level provincial hockey with both Mark and Jeremie has certainly had its moments. The Richard family wouldn’t trade those memories for the world. You see they live for the game, they love the game. Those hockey memories and the friendships forged over that time will never fade.
Every “hockey mom” provides balance, guidance, and structure, they make sure everything is under control and manageable. They have a way of making everything better and ensuring everyone is ready to go and perform at their best.
Going to the rink has taken on entirely new meaning for the Richard family since Tina was first diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer a year ago. Tina continues to battle the disease with unwavering courage, positivity, and strength. At the beginning of the month, Tina provided a heartbreaking update. She doesn’t have a lot of time, but she’s going to make the best of the time she does have with her family and friends.
The hockey community is like no other, it has a way of always taking care of its own, always providing encouragement and a rallying point.
The game has a way of connecting us all.
It teaches us how important relationships, friendships and teammates really are. The hockey world is one big family and family is always there for each other no matter what.
The bond shared and created between families and teammates is where this incredible story begins. Two days ago, Tina and Daniel Richard received an unexpected call. The contents of that phone call and message are personal and won’t be shared, but just put it this way, the tight knit hockey community from this region is providing the Richard’s with a trip of a lifetime.
This story isn’t about the people who are making this happen, who the Richard’s are extremely grateful of, but this story is about the love of a family, the love of hockey, the love shared between parents and their sons, and the life lessons being taught by their parents. This story is about the wholehearted truth behind being a devoted loving hockey mom.
The call and subsequent private message two days ago was from a travel agent offering an all-expenses paid trip to Ottawa to watch the Senators and Philadelphia Flyers game on Friday night.
“This is a fairytale come true for us,” said Tina Richard when asked about the surprise trip.
“The boys are over the moon right now.”
“God always shares his stories in the most humble of ways and it’s my wish that this will be as well.”
“We will be taking lots of photos and making memories, some will be saved and some will be shared.”
The itinerary is all set. Everything is taken care of, just like Tina would do if the family were to embark on a roadie to a hockey tournament. Everything might be planned but the indelible memories that this amazingly humble quiet hockey family will share together. If the Richard’s have learned anything over the last year, they have learned to live, love and embrace every moment of time together.
“Everything is already perfect,” Richard said.
Trips like this one could take months to plan, this particular one came together very quickly.
Who planned it? Who spearheaded the idea?
Let’s just say Mark (Richibucto Rangers of the NBJHL) and Jeremie Richard (Moncton U18 AAA Flyers of the NB/PEI Major U18AAA Hockey League) are great teammates. They are the “glue guys” of any team. Skilled, quiet, confident leaders, that play the game the right way. They never shy away from standing up for a teammate. They are always there to lift people up, that’s the type of kids and teammates they are. The Richard boys are the first players to celebrate a goal with their teammates, they literally fly into the celebration to congratulate the goal scorer. They exemplify the true meaning of character and heart and soul players. It’s evident the lessons their mother and father have taught them at home continues to pay dividends on and off the ice.
Everyone can speculate that it’s a current or former team, teammate or family that set all of this in motion and perhaps that’s the case. We may never know the full story behind how this all came about, but it’s clear that Mark and Jeremie Richard are the type of players, teammates and people that others would go through a wall for, because that’s exactly how Tina and Daniel Richard raised them. This story isn’t about who set all of this up or the people or organizations involved, this story is all about why they did it and who they did it for.
Tina and Daniel Richard have always been there for others, always willing to go the extra mile to lend a helping hand, always willing to give back.
It’s the hockey community’s turn to give back and they all have certainly delivered a trip of a lifetime for a hockey family and a hockey mom like no other.