I have this theory about pivotal moments, moments when out of the blue something happens that directs your life in a way that you had not imagined. These are not the moments that you can control or plan, like asking your girlfriend to marry you, or buying a plane ticket to Thailand. These are the moments that happen freely, and often subtly in everyday life, that years later you can look back on and pin point as truly defining.
One of these moments happened for me on December 10th 2010 at fifteen years old, when a guy with dark hair and squinty eyes struck up a conversation at a party. I would lying if I told you that I had no clue who this guy was, as I grew up in a very small town and when the new junior hockey players rolled in, everyone noticed. I remembered him from the hallways at school and as that cute guy who held the door for me that night I forgot my phone at the rink.
Like most other pivotal moments I left the party that night with no idea what had just happened. That the young goalie who wore number 35, hated Reebok, and loved Carey Price, was not only the man that I would someday marry, but that my life was about to take off on crazy twisting path as I chased this boy, as he followed the puck.
The first three seasons of our relationship were spent in a beautiful valley in British Columbia where I grew, while Ty played for my hometown team. Our lives were focused around high school, hockey and each other and boy was life simple. Ty started playing the BCHL at quite a young age, so these seasons for him were full of growth not only as a goalie but also as a person. By his 19 year old season T was undeniably one of the top goalies in the leagues, and along with the success came scouts.
He made it clear from the beginning that he planned for hockey to eventually take him far away, and sure enough in November of 2012 he proudly committed to playing NCAA hockey on the east coast of the United States. I don’t think it matters how many conversations you have, or how prepared you feel, when the person you love makes a jump like that, it is going to rock your world. I can remember slow dancing with him at my high school graduation and having that feeling where your throat is so tight it is hard to believe that you are still breathing. It was this moment, not his commitment, or his final game in the BCHL, that things really hit me, that I finally understood that this was happening, and he was leaving.
Dropping him off at the airport that cool September morning is to date one of hardest things I have done. The distance did not faze me but the fact that I would no longer see my best friend everyday definitely did. But like time and time again we did not let the challenges we faced define our relationship and we learned to adjust to our new reality. We became well acquainted to falling asleep to the glow of Skype, mastered the art of a book butt pics, and all in all learnt to make the most of living separate lives together.
Our NCAA experience has been far from as pleasant as the BCHL was. For more reasons than I could share the last three seasons hockey wise have truly been a roller coaster ride. The highs have been high and the lows have been low, and ultimately as we look into his fourth year our heads are full of questions. The goal like most NCAA players is pro. We have no doubt that that will happen somewhere at some point for us, but when and where we do not know. I think the unpredictability of the hockey world is really the most difficult part. I mean there are not many professions in the world where there is such a large range of possible outcomes.
The one thing we do know though is that no matter how far this hockey road takes us, it has given us more already than we could have ever imagined. From a free education, to trips all over the world, to countless amazing friends, experiences, memories, and most of all it brought us each other. Learning to roll with the punches in the moment can be extremely difficult but later on looking back will have taught you things and brought you places you never would have dreamt of.
To finish this up I thought I would share six things that hockey has taught me in the last six seasons. I would also like to thank Amanda and Chantale for the opportunity to share a little bit of my story on their piece of the Internet.
Lots of love, Hannah
- Without fail, support the ones you love in being with whoever it is that makes them happy. As long as they are safe, it is not your job to understand other peoples relationships, but it is your job to support them.
- Be kind to people. Go out of your way (especially as a hockey girlfriend or wife) to introduce yourself and welcome people, as all that anyone wants is to feel as if they belong.
- Surround yourself with a tribe who will be there for the good and there for the bad. Celebrate the highs, survive the lows, but do it together.
- Never let anyone else’s ideas of how the world should work affect the way that your world works. Trust your gut, and follow your dreams.
- With time things always get better, or at least easier. That as big as something feels in the moment, give it time and it will shrink. It will disintegrate, evaporate, and erode, until eventually it is so small and so minuscule that you may even look back and smile.
- Learn to accept and try to love the unknown. Every thing in life happens for a reason, and who knows? Maybe someday you will look and realize that all that the unknown is, is living one of those pivotal moments.