It was a sad day when Martin St. Louis retired from the NHL.
Not only was he a great player, but he was an inspiration to everyone who was told that they couldn’t make it. They were too big, too small, too short, too tall.
St. Louis never listened to those critics. He just kept pushing through.
And now he shares his motivation through a great article on the Players Tribune:
We were losing to Pittsburgh three games to one in the second round of the 2014 playoffs and were flying into Pittsburgh for Game 5. As we were beginning our descent, my phone rang. In all the travel I had done throughout my career, my phone never rang while I was still in the air. It was the worst phone call I have ever received.
It was my father calling to tell me that my mom had suffered a heart attack and had died. She was only 63.
She was always my biggest fan even though she didn’t know much about hockey. Very little, actually — there were times when she’d watch a game and have no idea that I’d even scored until my father told her. What she did know was how important hockey was to me, so she did everything in her power to support my pursuit of it.
Most men make this assumption that they take after their father. I recognize many traits I have that come from my dad, like my work ethic and athleticism, but when I look deeper inside, I see just how much of me and my success can be attributed to my mom. To become a professional hockey player, you absolutely need to be able to shoot and skate at a world-class level, but that’s not enough. What my mom gave me was the mental toughness to not let anything stand in the way of my dream.
Every night when she put me to bed as a child, she’d stay in my room for a little while and say the same thing: “Show them! Don’t worry about what they say about your size. Go out there and show them how good you are!”
What my mom gave me was the mental toughness to not let anything stand in the way of my dream.
Here was the thing: I believed her. The fact that she had such confidence in my abilities made me feel invincible. She wanted it for me as badly as I wanted it for myself.
My mom was soft-spoken and only 4’11”, but once you got to know her, it became clear how passionate she was. She wanted my sister and me to find success, but more than that, she really wanted us to be good human beings. She always put out this tremendous welcoming energy. She made everybody around her feel better, even if that meant having or taking less for herself. She radiated kindness in all that she did and said. But she was also a worrier, which didn’t always fit well with me playing a sport as physical as hockey. On the plus side, getting hurt always meant the royal treatment. To this day, whenever I’m not feeling well, I immediately wish she was here to take care of me. I guess she spoiled me.
On the changes in his priorities:
I’m not just a hockey player. More importantly, I’m a dad. My boys are getting older and I’m tired of missing out on their important moments. This is time I can’t get back. My oldest son Ryan is 12, and in six years he will be off to college with my other sons, Lucas and Mason, only a couple of years behind him. Up until this point, everything has been about me. My family’s location and schedule has centered around what’s going on in my career. Now it’s time for everything in my life to be about them. For the first time in their lives, I will definitely be home for their birthdays, I am guaranteed to be with them for all of the holidays and family trips and I will not miss their important events at school or their hockey games and practices.
Check out the rest of the story here.