VANCOUVER – Peter Stitcher wrote a letter to his son that he never sent.
It doesn’t matter why he didn’t mail the letter. What’s important is that he kept it so that before the Vancouver Canucks summer camp began last week, Troy Stitcher discovered the letter and, on Father’s Day, could feel the love of a father who was suddenly lost four weeks ago.
“My brother and I went there to clean his apartment, and I actually received a letter in the year of my upheaval but he never gave it to me,” Stitcher, a 2-year-old defenseman, said Saturday. “He was telling me how proud he was that I did the NHL. And how there is no straight road in this world. There’s always going to be things of pushing and shoving and you just keep going it (he writes) I’ve already faced a lot of obstacles and I’ve overcome a lot, but now is not the time to stop.
“When I received this letter, I must have been devastated. This is what I will hold and will probably keep the frame with me for the rest of my life.
This is the ultimate gift of a father who, as Troy said, gave him all the gifts.
“He’s my first coach and my favorite coach,” Stitcher said. “He was my best friend. My dad was always tough on me as a player. He’s no ass or anything, but my dad expected me to work hard and he’s not going to sugar coat at all. He was going to tell me the way he was. And I’m grateful for that.
Peter Stitcher, who raised his three children in Richmond, BC, died suddenly on June 21 of diabetes complications before settling into Serie A. He is 65 years old.
“My darkest nightmare you can ever imagine,” Troy says.
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Stitcher, the third Vancouver player to lose his father this season, lost his father Craig in May after a major stroke at home on Prince Edward Island. Anders, the father of goaltender Jacob Markstrom, died in Sweden last November after battling cancer.
But the NHL shutdown has welcomed new kids to Canucks Bo Harwat and Antoine Russell. And on Saturday, when Stitcher rose to the top four in defense and practiced alongside Alex Adler at Rogers Arena, in-depth defender Jordi Benn returned to Texas for the birth of his child.
“It’s an insane subject, the unpredictability of life,” McQueen said Saturday. “I think we both (he and Stitcher) avoided things you never knew and were given nothing. You can just move on and lean on each other and use the people around you.
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Stitcher said it helps that he’s back among teammates. He said that when his father died, both Markstrom and McQueen sent him long text messages.
“Just send me a little bit of their sympathy and let them know how you handled it, the wave of feelings you’re facing and just accept them and don’t try to fight it,” Stitcher said. “There will come a time when you will break up, and that’s okay. Your memory stays very good. Every day is a new day. It felt good to reach out to them, and the amount of support I received from people, not just them, was amazing.
“On a personal level, getting the boys back is a blessing for me and I can get a schedule that will occupy my mind throughout the day: showing the habit to work hard and going through practice, and then trying to take care after my body. Obviously, at home A lot of times I think about things. Being on the rink has just been a blessing. This is where my dad and I were happiest together – when we were in the rink. “
Stitcher said his father trained in Richmond Minor Hockey until he was nine years old, but taught him how to play baseball and other sports. His parents separated when he was in high school, before playing at Junior in Pentiton, Troy, BC, where he eventually earned a scholarship to the University of North Dakota as a lower-level defender.
After three years in college and a national championship with Vancouver teammate Brock Bozar, Stitcher signed with Canucks in 2016 as an undefeated free agent, and since then he has spent four games of his professional career in the NHL. Peter Stecher’s letter is four years old.
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Troy’s relentless dedication to his craft and work ethic inspired him to skate hard enough to vomit on the first day he attended training camp. When Canucks started training for the NHL’s summer Stanley Cup tournament last Monday, he finally broke his pucking streak.
“Do you want secrets? I took two gravels before the skate, “Stitcher said.” I didn’t take both. I will probably be doing training camp next year. “
Stitcher has a sharp look at this camp, which he is partly in Vancouver and is responsible for skating with most of Hockey’s four months of shutdown. He returned to the ice after his father died.
“When I got off the ice, I walked in my car for about 40 minutes,” he said. “(Rink) was where we were happiest. This is where he taught me to love the game. I have some great memories in the rink, so now I just don’t have the good thoughts I want to have here
“I am overwhelmed with joy and wonderful memories. Unfortunately, that’s all I had now. “
A letter very valuable for words.