One year ago Rosanna and Franc Petan watched from afar as their son Nic competed at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship. In the middle of moving from Surrey to Delta, B.C., the Petans gathered with friends at their family restaurant, sometimes as early as 4 a.m. PT, to cheer as Nic put up five points for Canada.
Sometimes they’d watch him twice.
“We watched the games live, then watch them again when they’d be replayed,” says Rosanna. “Or we’d tape it and watch it again later.”
Or even just listen.
After a weekend visit to their older son, Alex, who plays for Michigan Tech University, Rosanna and Franc found an audio feed of Canada’s game against Slovakia on their flight home from Detroit.
“We listened to it for two hours on the plane, each of us with one earphone,” says Rosanna.
As they made their way to baggage claim in Seattle, earphones still in, Nic scored with less than three minutes to play in the third to give Canada a 4-3 lead. A minute-and-a-half later, he added the insurance marker into an empty net.
“We’re in the airport and we just screamed when he scored.”
This time around they’ll be cheering in person at the Bell Centre in Montreal.
“I’m definitely more excited it being here in Canada and my husband and me going,” says Rosanna. “We are so pumped to see it live. I think Nic’s pretty happy that we’re going to be there this year.”
When you travel as much for hockey as the Petan family does, catching the red-eye on Christmas Day is no big deal. Between taking frequent road trips to see Nic play five hours south with the Portland Winterhawks, venturing to his away games in Vancouver, Seattle and Everett, and going with him to various high-performance camps and competitions, Rosanna and Franc are as used to travelling as their son.
They’ve also become familiar with the families of other Team Canada players.
“It’s great meeting all the parents and how we all stand together,” says Rosanna. “We’re all there for the same reason, rooting on our kids.”
But even after all those games watching from the stands isn’t any easier.
“I’m nervous already and I haven’t even been there,” says Rosanna, laughing. “I know it’s a big deal playing for Canada anywhere, and being in your own country they must be thrilled, scared, excited, probably pretty nervous, and that’s exactly what we feel.”