Benson Broda got just the encouragement he needed after struggling through skating lessons.
He’s three, going on four, and was convinced that one is either born knowing how to skate or would never learn.
According to Benson, Regina Pats star Sam Steel was someone who was born knowing how to skate and he was not. Benson thought he would never stop falling down.
So Benson’s mom Krista went straight to the source of her son’s awe and wonder, hoping he could get some encouragement to continue skating.
“He was a little down on himself,” Krista recalled of the night her son came home from his lesson, so she sent the Pats an email.
“(I) just said ‘is there any way Sam Steel might be able to get in touch with Benson and just let him know he used to fall too when he started learning’, and I got a reply.”
Steel, who went 30th overall in in the NHL Draft this year, was at camp with the Anaheim Ducks at the time but the club assured her they would do what they could when he returned to Regina.
“About three weeks later and we opened the mailbox and it was addressed to Benson and we all kind of sat around the table and I was hoping it was what I thought it was … and he was absolutely thrilled.” Krista said.
Steel had penned a handwritten card to his young admirer, encouraging him to keep going.
“I heard you are a bit Pats fan and you are starting to play hockey yourself. That’s awesome,” the note began. “I remember when I first started and I would fall all the time, so if you’re struggling, don’t worry it has happened to all of us. So keep working hard and you might be a Pat someday.”
“It’s a pretty special moment and it’s something we’ll keep forever,” Krista said.
“Role models are kind of hard to find these days and you always want them to have a good one … Just to think of (Sam) sitting down and just brightening a four-year-old’s day is pretty special.”
And Benson, well, he’s found new life at his skating lessons. He told Krista he was “going to light it up this week … now that he knows he’s going to be a Pat someday.”
Steel was happy to know his note helped, and says he’s very conscious that’s he’s a role model to young Pats fans.
“It’s humbling, it’s really cool. I’m just lucky to be in a position where I am playing junior hockey, where lots of kids look up to myself and the other guys in the room,” he said. “It’s definitely something we all think about and just try to carry ourselves in the best way possible and be good role models.”
And as for the proclamation that Steel never falls, head coach John Paddock just chuckled.
“Well, Sam’s a pretty good player, but as we often say as we’re evaluating a player or sort of getting ticked off at someone … there’s no perfect player. Sam’s a really good player, but he’s not a perfect player.”
Maybe he’s not quite perfect in the eyes of his coach, but to nearly four-year-old Benson, he’s above and beyond.