The Day Sudbury’s NHL Hockey Mom Met Wayne Gretzky and Alan Thicke
Mary Anne Secord, Wayne Gretzky and Alan Thicke

Mary-Anne Secord with Wayne Gretzky and the late Alan Thicke at an event celebrating the 1983 NHL All Star Team.

It was the 1983 season and my son Alan was chosen to play in the NHL All Star game and the series  was to be held at the New York Islander’s rink. My husband and I flew to New York to attend and the NHL had sent a limousine to pick us up at the airport, (my first time in a limo!) The NHL spared no expense for the parents and more treats were in store for us. That evening, the Islander’s ice surface was covered in royal blue carpet and dining tables were set with white linen tablecloths for the pre game dinner and festivities.

At our table sat my husband, son and I along with Walter Gretzky, father of the famous Wayne, other NHL all-star players plus fans who had paid an enormous sum of money to sit at the tables with their famous hockey player favourites. Wayne Gretzky and Alan Thicke stopped by our table to say hello to Walter and that is when I had my picture taken with Wayne and Alan. Walter is a very sweet man and it was obvious how much Wayne loved and respected him and vice versa. It was a fabulous evening, I couldn’t tell you what the menu was as I was enjoying taking in everything that was going on around me.

Next day, the players’ mothers, wives or girlfriends had a choice of either going to Fifth Avenue to shop or go on a tour of Long Island mansions. I chose to visit the Long Island mansions to see how the other half lived. Some driveways were approximately 5 miles in off the main road and the entrance foyers to most of the mansions we visited had cozy fires burning in huge fireplaces. The foyers were as large as my whole house! I remember looking around and wondering if the people who lived in these mansions were as happy as I was living in my little home by a lake outside of Espanola.

On the bus ride to our first mansion, a very attractive woman of about 35 sat with me and we struck up a conversation. She was dressed in an expensive suit and full length mink coat and told me she was the wife of one of the owners of the Islanders. At first, I was apprehensive talking to her and then reminded myself she wouldn’t be here beside me if it wasn’t for hockey moms like me! She asked me where I was from and I told her my home was at a lake in Northern Ontario where we had few neighbours.

She was quite interested in how I lived and what I did for entertainment and so told her I was a cross country skier, went out every day weather permitting and that I would sometimes ski the length of our 7 mile lake with my lunch and my dog. I told her stories of seeing wolf tracks and how beautiful and quiet it is when I skied, that it was my favourite thing to do. She was astounded I wasn’t afraid and especially to be alone with no one else around. She asked me a million questions on how we lived and was quiet for a while, then looked at me and said, “Do you know, I’ve never met anyone who lives the way you do. I live in a penthouse on Park Avenue, have always lived a very sheltered life in New York City and listening to your stories and how your face lights up while you are describing your home and your activities are very eye opening.” She went on to tell me that I was a lucky woman to love my way of life. I didn’t let on I already knew.

I loved all the perks I received as an NHL hockey mom but I especially loved the fact that I could turn it all off and go back to my lake and my way of life that I had chosen and in the following weeks, go over the  memories I gathered from my latest hockey trip.

Mary-Anne Secord

Mary-Anne Secord is an NHL hockey mom and a has a lot of great hockey memories to share. Her son Alan Secord was drafted by the Boston Bruins in 1978 and also played for the Chicago Blackhawks, Toronto Maple Leafs and Philadelphia Flyers. You can read more of Mary Anne’s stories here and here.

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