Two years removed from the Ontario Hockey League championship, Nick Suzuki is getting ready for an even larger stage, the Stanley Cup Final.
His parents, Rob and Amanda Suzuki of London, Ont., have had a front-row seat the entire time — or at least until public health restrictions prevented the Suzukis from enjoying the action in person.
“It’s been challenging for all of us, sitting at home watching on TV and not being there. It’s a whole different dynamic than being at the arena,” Amanda said.
“I usually have a group of cheerleaders with me watching the game. We have our superstitions and we follow the same routine every game night. We have our lucky things we do everyday.”
It seems as though the superstitions are paying off.
Suzuki has scored five goals on the road to the cup final, including the overtime winner in Game 5 of their first-round series with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
It was a goal that would keep Montreal alive in the series, and spark a postseason run that few, if any, expected.
“We showed a lot of heart and we feel like we can get back in this series,” Suzuki told media following the game.
As we now know, they did exactly that.
At 21, Suzuki has shown poise beyond his years that may surprise some, but not his mother.
“He’s been like that since he was a baby. He’s just calm, cool, and collected,” Amanda said.
“Through his hockey career, he’s always been cool as a cucumber. Nothing fazes him, nothing.”
Amanda says she doesn’t have that same calm demeanour when she watches.
“I yell and scream at the TV,” she laughed.
Suzuki also played a big role in series victories over the Winnipeg Jets and Vegas Golden Knights, who drafted him in 2017.
He would later be traded to Montreal as part of a deal that sent former Habs’ captain Max Pacioretty to Vegas.
As for her son landing in Montreal, Amanda thinks it’s the perfect fit.
“They really love each other, and they support each other. They have come together at the right time and they’re clicking,” she said.
“It shows on the ice. It truly is a brotherhood.”