Dad's View: Armed with Skills to Defend YourselfAug 31, 2023
Lance Pitlick: NHL Veteran to Hockey MentorEvery NHL parent has dreams for their child. But for Lance Pitlick, those dreams were initially overshadowed by fears. Especially when he saw both his sons, Rem and Rhett, passionately following the path towards the icy rinks.
Lance's NHL Legacy
For context, Lance isn't a stranger to the hockey world. Those who remember will recall Pitlick's 393 NHL games over five seasons with the Ottawa Senators and three with the Florida Panthers. Despite being drafted in the 9th round in 1986 and facing his own set of challenges, he made his debut in the big league at 27. His journey wasn't about natural talent but sheer will, and an unyielding spirit. These experiences made him the protective father he became.
"I was scared," Lance confessed without embarrassment. His fears were rooted in the reality of ice hockey, a sport known for its aggressive checks and blows. Especially since his sons were smaller in stature. This apprehension was not unfounded. Lance had been in their shoes, or rather, their skates. He knew what it was like being targeted on the ice. However, a revelation changed his perspective: "I realized I was analyzing the situation from the wrong side of the ice," Lance remarked. Instead of teaching his sons to withstand blows, he decided to arm them with skills.
A Shift in Perspective
Lance wasn't naturally talented in many aspects of hockey. He humorously admitted that his son Rem's impressive goals didn't come from his DNA. Maybe they came from their mother, Lisa, but certainly not from him.
Despite these self-acknowledged limitations, Lance was resolute: "I could easily explain the virtues of the strength of character, but I needed to learn more to teach them the art of skating and controlling the puck." So, he went back to school, metaphorically speaking. Without the internet, Lance relied on DVDs, coaching training, and interactions with seasoned coaches. He even learned to handle the puck from the left, proving that it's never too late to learn.
Beyond Fatherhood: Mentor to Many
Lance's dedication didn't stop with his sons. Since 2009, he's founded and developed numerous hockey schools. In the USA, especially in the state that's often hailed as the birthplace of hockey, he's known as "Coach Lance." His schools have nurtured hundreds, if not thousands, of students. Some, like Grace Zumwinkle and Dani Cameranesi, even made it to the Olympics.
Lance's philosophy is simple: "It's about allowing them to develop their skills to go as far as they can. I had the chance to make a living from hockey and to pass on my passion to my sons. And today, I have the privilege to help all those who love this sport."
Inspiration and the Future
Lance is humble, attributing much of his son Rem's success to the lad's own hard work. He mentions how Rem looks up to Martin St-Louis, seeing parallels in their journeys. As for attending games, Lance admits to being more of a homebody, but with two sons and a nephew in Montreal, he might just make an exception soon.
Today, Lance is no longer plagued by the fears that once troubled him. As "Coach Lance," he's confident that he's armed not just his sons, but countless other young players, with the talent and skills to chase their hockey dreams.