The love between a father and daughter is indescribable. Sharing common interests and passions is sometimes an incredibly difficult dynamic. For some, father and daughter time especially during the teenage years is incredibly difficult to navigate.
Spending time together and sharing experiences takes on an entirely new meaning when the bond between father and daughter are strong. Serge and Veronique Arseneault’s bond and love runs deep. Their shared love and passion of the game of hockey continues to strengthened their relationship.
“Like any father would say, it means everything,” Arseneault said, when asked about spending time with his daughter at the Memorial Cup and throughout the QMJHL season.
“My sixteen-year-old daughter prefers to be watching hockey with me than being anyway else, it means everything.”
Arseneault’s first recollection of playing the game was when he was three or four.
“As young as I can remember, I was passionate about the game,” he said.
Every proud father has stories to share about their daughters. It seems like the game of hockey and Veronique’s love and passion started very early.
“As soon as Veronique was born everyone would come to our house and laugh, ironically the TSN theme song would keep her calm.”
“She was so used to listening to that song, when she would start crying, we would take her into the living room and start watching TSN, at that point she would be as happy as could be.”
Veronique never played hockey, but that didn’t mean she wasn’t on the blades. The ultra-passionate sports and hockey fan played ringette for a number of years. Staying active and enjoying sport was a common theme for Annie and Serge Arseneault. Like every parent, they wanted their daughter to have the opportunity to find a passion and follow their dreams.
Growing up and raising a family in rural New Brunswick isn’t always easy. Access to sports and recreational opportunities means long hours on the road. The sacrifices parents make for their children are ultimately meant to leave a lasting impression.
The love of sport and especially hockey was always strong within the Arseneault household, but that would all change in 2018.
“I was dancing competitively and I really don’t know what happened, but I pulled a muscle quite badly close to my knee it was really bad,” admitted Veronique.
Some injuries are more severe than others.
“Since the injury I have been diagnosed with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome.”
CRPS is a form of chronic pain that usually affects an arm or a leg. In some cases, the pain is out of proportion of the severity of the initial injury. Faced with uncertainty around the ability to continue playing sports the tight knit family chose alternative avenue for their love and passion.
The love of hockey which was always ever present would take on new meaning.
Serge and Veronique chose to start following the Moncton Wildcats of the QMJHL.
They quickly became die-hard fans of the organization.
194 Km’s door to door, wouldn’t stop the inseparable father daughter duo from enjoying the game.
The long hours in the truck travelling through some unimaginable roads conditions from Rogersville to Moncton is done out of love of the team, but ultimately the sport.
Their love of the QMJHL and Canadian Hockey League has taken them to the epicenter of junior hockey this week, Saint John, New Brunswick and the 102nd Memorial Cup.
“The Memorial Cup experience has been awesome so far, the City of Saint John and the Sea Dogs have put on an awesome show,” said Serge Arseneault.
“The Speaking Series’ have been incredible. We have taken in a few concerts so far as well, but the speaking series have been our favorite so far.”
Favorite off ice activity that is. There’s passionate knowledgeable fans and then there’s Serge and Veronique Arseneault. The Arseneault’s are glued to their seats every second of every game, they study every aspect of the game, the players and the entire QMJHL.
“It’s always fun to talk hockey,” Serge said.
Both Serge and Veronique believe the Memorial Cup is once in a life time event, they will be experiencing another one of those in December of 2023 when the World Juniors come to Moncton.
“I think Veronique says it best, it’s a dream of lifetime having the Memorial Cup and World Juniors this close to home, but to share it with her is a dream come true for me,” said the proud father.
The hockey loving father-daughter duo feel like the Moncton Wildcats and the City of Moncton are like a second home and family.
The game has a unique way of connecting us all. The relationships and friendships made along the way truly mean everything to the Arseneault’s.
“Whether it’s Moncton or here in Saint John this week, hockey people are so nice. The hockey community in general makes everyone feel accepted and there for the same reason, it’s just amazing to see the sense of the togetherness,” Serge said.
Being able to spend time with her father around the rink isn’t lost on Veronique.
“It’s really special, I’m really blessed to get to do this with my dad.”
“I’m so grateful to be able to do this together, I just love it.”
“Seeing and being able to meet some famous people here this week at the Memorial Cup is special but being able to do it so close to him and with my dad is really special.”
The long drives to rink throughout the QMJHL season to and from the Avenir Centre have given way to walks around the Uptown Saint John and TD Station.
Veronique looks back on the injury in 2018 with no regrets.
“That year changed my life.”
“I discovered a huge passion in me that the game of hockey was my life.”
“It’s a chance of a lifetime to experience the Memorial Cup, it’s been a crazy week so far.”
At 16 years old, Veronique is already dreaming about a career in the business of the game.
“I’m not sure which path I would take, but I really hope to work in the business side of the hockey industry”
“I really hope I will be a name that everyone recognizes when they think of hockey, I really hope that happens someday.”
“The game of hockey is my safe place,” Veronique said.
Veronique is quick to credit her mother as well for the love and support she has shown throughout her life.
“Mom is the best thing ever. She will always support our hockey passion! I absolutely love her. Yes everybody knows I’m a daddy’s girl but I love my momma.”
Serge and Veronique Arseneault’s passion and love for the game of hockey is one of kind, just like their love of one another.