Earlier this week, the New York Rangers pulled off an incredible comeback in game 4 of their playoff series against the Washington Capitals. Down by 1 late, they scored the tying goal with 7 seconds left in the third period. Then, just over a minute in to Sudden Death OT, Marc Staal scored the winning goal, pushing the Rangers to within 1 win of reaching the semi-finals. It was a big goal for Staal, and a great set-up for a look into the story of the hockey-playing Staal brothers from Thunder Bay, Ontario.
Also, as we approach Mother’s day, a big part of the story of the Staal brothers, is their mother, Linda, who like many Canadian mothers, watched her kids grow up from the bleachers of the chilly ice rinks where her 4 sons honed their hockey skills. She has had those efforts rewarded, too, as 3 of her sons Eric (Carolina), Marc (New York Rangers) and Jordan(Pittsburgh) are significant figures in the NHL, and the 4th, the youngest – Jared – is working his way toward the NHL, currently playing in the Carolina Hurricane’s system.
And while Marc is the only one left playing as this years playoffs wind down, we will look at all 4 brothers, and the foundation for faith in God that was put in place by Linda and their Dad, Henry.
An article by Sports Spectrum Magazine sums up the faith that Linda has in God and her faithful prayers for all of her sons. As for her sons, well, Eric is a regular at Hockey Ministries International events. You can hear his share about his faith in this video
Or read about him and a couple more star Christian hockey players at this link from Living Light Ministries.
I was unable to find any other articles that talked about the other brothers and their relationships with Christ, but mom Linda and Dad Henry have gone a long way to equip their sons with the foundation to look to God to guide their life.
Some points from this story:
1- As a dad, I am reminded of my duty (and joy) of telling my daughters about God’s love, and Jesus’s sacrifice (and our desperate need for both). I appreciate Linda Staal’s efforts – devotional books and prayers for her sons, as well as understood church attendance and family devotional times when the boys were younger. I am challenged to make every effort to give my girls the knowledge of who God is and the understanding of how desperately we need him so that they can forge a true and genuine relationship of their own with Him. It brings to my mind the heartache of not being able to choose to follow God for them. I wish I could make the decision for them – but that just isn’t how it works. It is up to them to take the knowledge we can give them, as well as the modeling that we can do and then chose for themselves if they are going to follow God or not. This is definitely a constant reminder to be faithfully praying for them every day and living out my relationship with God in a very visible way.
2- Eric Staal won a Stanley Cup in 2006 with the Carolina Hurricane, Jordan Staal won a cup with the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2009. Now, in 2012 will it be Marc’s turn? That remains to be seen.
3- As Mother’s Day approaches, and we looked at the Staal’s mother in this article, I would like to say Happy Mother’s Day to my own mother, Nellie, and thank her for living out a visible faith for us to see. My brother’s and I are living God-centered lives and see the importance of passing the same on to our children, too. Thank you, Mom, for helping to make God such an important part of our lives.