It was anything but a routine weekend road trip for three moms who travelled thousands of miles from western Canada to Sault Ste. Marie and Blind River to watch their sons play for the Timmins Rock of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League.
Jennifer Slater and Lynn Nyman made the trek from British Columbia and Janet Harroun journeyed from Alberta to watch their sons and the Rock play three games in three days against the Soo Thunderbirds, Soo Eagles and Blind River Beavers. And being good moms, all said the lengthy road trip was well worth it to watch their boys in action.
The three hockey moms flew into Toronto on Thursday, met up, rented a car and drove together to Sudbury, where they stayed overnight. They then drove to the Soo for games against the Thunderbirds on Friday and the Michigan-based Eagles on Saturday before getting up the next day and driving to Blind River for a Sunday afternoon match. And then came a drive to Toronto and scheduled flights home today; Janet to Edmonton, Alberta and Jennifer and Lynn to Abbotsford, B.C.
Interestingly, all three hockey moms know one another from the 2021-2022 season when their boys — Lucas Piekarczyk, Kenyon Nyman and Brady Harroun — all played for the champion Red Lake Miners of the Superior International Jr. Hockey League. Then, remarkably, all three 20-year old players were traded from Red Lake to Timmins in separate transactions over the past summer.
For Lynn, the trip to the Soo and Blind River was made even more special in that her younger son, 18-year old Tenzin, also plays for Timmins, having made the Rock as a walk-on at its August training camp.
The three older players have become standouts for the Rock, which is in contention for first place in the NOJHL’s East Division. The older Nyman leads all NOJHL defensemen with 18 points, including four goals, in 15 games to date. Harroun, meanwhile, is third in league scoring with 11 goals, 11 assists, 22 points in 15 games. And Piekarczyk has five goals, five assists, 10 points in 13 games while playing on Timmins’ top line with Harroun and Nic Pigeon. As for the younger Nyman, the rookie defenseman has “started to play really well for us” according to Timmins coach/general manager Brandon Perry.
Back to the three hockey moms. My wife and I joined the pleasant, personable trio for lunch at Mane Street Cafe in the Sault’s downtown on both Friday and Saturday afternoons. For me, just hanging out and socializing and meeting three hockey moms who I have written a lot about their kids is the personal, family side of hockey that is way more than just about the game itself.
Here’s to new friends.
It is not easy to play three games in the space of two and a half days, all on the road. But Timmins showed its Rock resolve by rebounding from a 3-2 loss to the Soo Thunderbirds to begin the trip by upending the Soo Eagles 8-1 and then edging the Blind River Beavers by a 3-2 score.
Goalie Patrick Boivin, a Blind River product who Timmins acquired in a summer trade with the Beavers, backstopped the Rock to its two wins on the rugged road trip. Timmins, which has now won four of its past five games, takes a record of 9-4-2 into play this week. The Rock is in second place in the East Division, just one point back of its arch-rival Hearst Lumberjacks.