Stories of hockey players with a difficult childhood: It is no secret that hockey is expensive and not all parents can afford to send their children to hockey. But sometimes the problems in a family are not only limited to finances, and then the path to professional hockey for a child becomes even more difficult.
Stanley Cup winner Theo Fleury grew up in a seemingly close-knit family, but the demons of each parent left their mark on Theo’s character. The NHL star’s father was a classic alcoholic. With his mother, it’s rather more interesting. She managed to combine two incompatible traits – piety and drug addiction. Theo himself was short and mestizo. Theo’s childhood had been in 1970s America and these facts didn’t make him popular. He had to endure attacks and ridicule by peers.
All the free time the hockey player’s parents spent on their addictions, so the boy was always hanging out without supervision. Strangely enough, there were some positive aspects to this. The street-hardened the player and turned him into the Fleury everyone knows. Despite his small stature, Theo was always ready to throw down the gloves and fight, and his forceful and tough style of play was much loved by the fans of his team and made him hated by the fans of the opposing teams.
There was a terrible situation in the boy’s life. He was abused by one of the children’s coaches. All of these facts could not help but affect the hockey player’s character. Over the years, he has started to drink, combining it with taking banned substances. The hockey player was able to cope with his demons with varying success and turned into a true NHL superstar, although with such a childhood, his fate could have turned out very differently.
Interestingly, the analysts who work for the best cricket betting site in India take this information into account when analyzing matches and team line-ups. Demons from childhood and scandals in the family can affect the motivation of any athlete.
Chris Nilson is the National Hockey League record holder for most penalty minutes by an American. The hockey player has a very strange relationship with his father. The Stanley Cup champion with Montreal, who retired from hockey, said his father was a real support, pillar, and role model to him throughout his career. If he learned how to punch people in the face from his father, there is no question about that statement.
His father loved to smack one of the best taiga players in Montreal history when he was a kid. Moreover, it was not a regular spanking, but a real beating from his father. Like many of the taiga players of the 1980s, Nilan suffered from alcohol and drug addiction. Instead of support from his own family man, Nilan received only contempt and disgust. Nevertheless, Chris loves his father dearly. Quite an odd father-son relationship.
Another tagger on our list. Brashear is one of the most famous fighters in National Hockey League history, and he had a really difficult childhood. His father was an alcoholic and liked to smack other family members around. Donald himself once literally threw Donald out the window. Beatings with belts and even wires were commonplace in little Donald’s childhood. The mother couldn’t stand the constant beatings from her husband and decided to run away with the children, but even here Brashear was unlucky because the mother took all the children except Donald.
After four years, Brashear was reunited with his mother in Canada. But the boy’s misery didn’t end there either. His white foster father turned out to be a horrible racist and morally pressured the boy. It was decided to send the boy to an orphanage. Two foster families returned Brashir to the orphanage because they could not cope with a boy who had had to endure horrible things during his childhood.
Only a third foster family managed to show Donald what it was like to grow up in a loving and caring environment in a healthy and adequate family. At the time, the boy was just eight years old. It was in his third foster home that Brashear started playing hockey and even worked part-time to compensate for the hockey expenses. Eventually, Donald was able to make it to the best hockey league in the world and establish himself as one of the best tag teams of all time. By the way, for his role, Brashear scored quite a few points.
Bobby Ryan was once again all over the news and unfortunately, the hit was once again due not to the player’s success on the court, but his problems with alcohol addiction. The 2005 draft number two and Vancouver Olympic silver medallist continues his long struggle with addiction. One of the reasons for acquiring the habit was Bobby’s father.
In October 1997, Ryan’s father badly beat his wife and, after being charged with attempted murder, fled to Canada. Without thinking twice, his mother packed up little Bobby and came to Canada to join her husband, where they changed their name to Ryan. It happens. Stockholm syndrome’s a thing of the past. The father was imprisoned in 2002, but the psyche of the once very talented player was severely damaged. All the events took place at the age of 10. No matter what anyone says, domestic violence leaves a very strong imprint on a person’s character and psyche. Unfortunately, Bobby Ryan was no exception.
Patrick O Sullivan
A book by former NHL player Patrick O’Sullivan was published in 2015. A morally tough read, it reveals the peculiarities of the hockey player’s childhood. It turned out that O’Sullivan Sr. beat his son daily, abused and morally humiliated in every way. Once it got to the point where he put his son out in the cold in just his pajamas. The only salvation for the child was hockey, where Patrick could breathe deep a few hours a day and be free from his father’s humiliation and insults.
His father watched the games closely and got annoyed even after a good game, let alone a bad game. It is hard to imagine what a young man is going through, constantly feeling aggression from someone who is supposed to be supporting and helping. A terrible example of a father.
This story is not exactly about a difficult childhood. Inadequate parental behavior can hurt more than just childhood. Jack Johnson was the third pick of the draft and was good at all aspects of the game important for a defensive player. A good contract was signed very quickly, but here’s the trouble, all the money on the player’s contract was freely disposed of by Johnson’s parents.
They drove their son into bankruptcy. This was compounded by a playing slump and injuries. The player even had to sue his parents. Now the player decides for himself what and how to spend his hard-earned money, and communication with his parents is kept to a minimum. The hockey player now doesn’t have a huge salary, but he did win the Stanley Cup.
Young hockey fans do not always receive love, care, and support from their parents on their way to the best hockey league in the world. Some even undergo the toughest tests at a very young age, but still achieve great heights in the sport. However, each of the players listed above paid a high price for their parent’s mistakes.
Despite their star status and big salaries, the psyche of these players cannot be called healthy. They all have problems with alcohol and illegal substances. Parents should always think of their children first so that they don’t drown their potential at the bottom of the bottle.
That same Bobby Ryan could have been a real NHL star. The number two draft pick is a serious achievement, but right now Ryan is a pretty average player. Jack Johnson was a very promising defenseman, but the financial illiteracy of his parents added to the game headaches and prevented him from focusing on what he was good at, hockey. The result has been a significant pay cut.
Theo Fleury has achieved a lot at the world level. He won the Stanley Cup, Olympic Games, and World Championship silver medals. Accompanying all of these successes were alcohol and illegal substances, which even got him kicked out of the National Hockey League in 2003. If his parents could have shielded him from the horrors of childhood, you can be sure the guy would have played at the highest level for much longer and achieved even greater success.
We can’t even talk about Brashear and Neelan. It’s hard to imagine how they survived the childhood hell they went through.