Hockey players love to talk about the camaraderie in the room, the friendships built with the boys and everything that comes with that.
A lot of the time that might just mean a few laughs in the room after a game, a few curses shared about a play gone wrong, or a few tall tales about what could have — or should have — happened.
But sometimes it’s more challenging than that.
Sometimes it’s about real life and about family.
And that’s when those behind-the-scenes bonds are truly tested and never fray.
Western Kings goaltender Lucas Wiseman finds himself in that sort of position right now, with his 14-year-old sister Rebecca — a hockey player herself — battling cancer.
The entire team has rallied around the family, including parents Scott and Shawna, by adorning stickers on their helmets with the words ‘No one fights alone’ in bold.
“It’s a lot of support,” said Wiseman, just 16 years old himself.
“It makes us feel better, she gets through it a little easier,” he said. “It means a lot to us.”
For Wiseman, focusing on hockey — specifically his team’s provincial major midget hockey league final against the Tri Pen Osprey — can also serve as a temporary escape from the off-ice stress.
“It’s a good way to keep my mind off it and get away from it a bit,” he admits.
The Kings currently find themselves down 0-2 in a best-of-seven series nobody would’ve ever expected to be the final when the playoffs began. The East Coast Blizzard and St. John’s Maple Leafs dominated the regular season, but both were ejected by the Osprey and Kings, respectively, in the semifinal round.
Wiseman says the team is a little surprised to find itself trailing by two games after the opening weekend — which saw the Kings fall 4-2 twice on home ice at the Hodder Memorial Recreation Complex, with empty-netters sealing both.
Now the Kings find themselves on the road for a three-game set this weekend at three different venues — Friday night’s game will be at the Danny Clearly Harbour Grace Community Centre, with the Bay Arena in Bay Roberts serving as the site to Saturday night’s tilt.
Game 5, if necessary, would be held at the Trinity Placentia Arena in Whitbourne on Sunday morning.
Wiseman, who shares the net with Lucas Park, would be the likely starter for Saturday’s game, though he hadn’t been told during the time of the interview if that was the case.