It may have been because of his remarkable career in the NHL, but two-time Stanley Cup winner Brad Richards brought the focus of his induction into the P.E.I. Sports Hall of Fame back around to family Monday night.
Richards won a Stanley Cup with the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2004, when he was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player during the playoffs, and in 2015 with the Chicago Blackhawks.
The ceremony was held at the Northumberland Arena in Richards’ hometown of Murray River, with dozens of family and friends in attendance. Richards said it was great to be home.
“It’s special in a lot of ways. The last two years have been hard for everybody. The last two and a half years we haven’t even got to be home,” he said.
“So to get home finally with my family and kids, and see my family was massive. To be able to celebrate and get this honour at the same time kind of makes the whole trip even better.”
Richards said he is a full-time dad these days, ferrying his kids to school and sports practices, and loving it.
Looking back over his career, Richards said he hoped he set an example for young players coming up behind him.
“I tried to always do it the right way, tried to be respectful, tried to play the game properly, tried to do what I could off the ice for the communities I lived in,” he said.
“I felt I was taught that at a young age.”
Lonnie Atkinson, the minister who baptised Richards in 1980, picked up on the family theme, pointing out that Richards’ life was always about more than hockey.
“This young man has been blessed throughout his life: blessed with family, blessed with community, blessed with friends,” said Atkinson.
Pat Morris, his long-time agent, said those blessings were important, and something he has seen as a common denominator among great hockey players.
“The core of their playing success, and more importantly their status as a person and character, comes from two people: their mom and their dad,” said Morris.