Toby Petersen, like so many NHLers, had plenty of help from his family early on in his hockey career. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
With Kevin Kennedy
I grew up in Bloomington, Minnesota, the former home of the Minnesota Twins and Vikings. I’m a big Twins fan and I blame my brother for getting me into hockey instead of football or baseball. My brother is three years older than I am, so when he was playing early on it obviously caught my attention. I got into hockey because of him and I also got some hand-me-downs.
My dad also played a significant role in my minor hockey career. He would let me know what I could’ve done better on the way home in the car. He wouldn’t hesitate to give me advice, but my he never said a word during games; he was very quiet and just observed. There are always a couple parents that yell “shoot” or whatever, but he wasn’t one of them.
Getting us boys to the games and practices was truly a team effort in our household. My younger sister played as well and my other younger sister had dance classes. My parents relied on a pretty sophisticated network of car pooling. I remember there was one rink in particular that I hated to see on the schedule: the Minnetonka Ice Bubble. It was freezing cold. The rink was cold. The locker rooms were cold. There was nowhere to hide. You knew once you stepped in the rink you were going to be freezing.
I had two Minnesota hockey legends, Dan Trebil and Tom Saterdalen, as coaches in minor hockey and they both had a big impact me as a player and as a person. They taught me discipline on and off the ice. I owe a lot to those guys. Tom Saterdalen coached me at Bloomington Jefferson High School and he’s coached a bunch of guys playing in the NHL today.
My fondest minor hockey memory was winning the silver stick in Sarnia, Ontario. Coming up from Minnesota, we’d won our regional tournament in St. Paul and went on to win it all. It was pretty special at such a young age.