Sports writer Brian Kennedy collects the heartwarming and sometimes comical memories of how NHL stars and hockey journalists "grew up hockey:"
Bobby Hull: "I had three things going for me. I could skate, I could shoot, and I was strong. My parents gave me the start, and I put the muscle on my frame and developed my skating ability. When I got open, I could shoot the puck. That's all I needed."
Wayne Gretzky: "[My dad] would stand in the big window and watch me. The odd time he'd come out and tell me some things, but mostly he just stayed in there and watched. I was by myself most of the time...almost all day long. It's the best way to learn."
Jordin Tootoo: "I want to be true to my roots. I'm a kid who is doing what he loves, but at the same time, I go home to enjoy the wildlife and the land. That's who I am, and I never want to forget it."
Bobby Clarke: "...all I ever wanted to do was put my skates on and go out on the ice. I loved hockey, and I would do anything to play hockey. All day, every day, we played."
Cammi Granato: "I was obsessed with the game. Playing hockey was completely normal for me. At school I daydreamed about hockey all the time. Nobody could ever take that away from me."
Jim Pappin: "I remember certain things about the Cups I won, and everything about the ones I lost. There were two of them. Winnipeg takes away a lot of memories, but when you lose, you never forget."
Ian Laperriere: "It's not a trophy. It's more like a business card. [My face] tells people what I do. They ask, 'Are you a boxer?' And I say, 'No, I'm a hockey player.' I like it when people ask me that."