Boesers mourn the loss of her father Duke: 'Family is more important than hockey'

Boesers mourn the loss of her father Duke: ‘Family is more important than hockey’

On the day the Brock Boeser National Hockey League career began in 2017, Duke Boeser was in the Vancouver Canucks locker room reading the squad card as his son tried not to cry in front of his new teammates.

On the day the Duke’s life ended, May 27, 2022, Brooke was with him again.

Twelve years after the arrival of Parkinson’s disease, just an initial attack through a relentless wave of challenges that would include brain injury in a car accident, cancer, heart attack and dementia, Duke Bowser’s battle for life at home is over in Burnsville, Minnesota. .

He was 61 years old. Brooke is 25 years old, still too young to lose his father.

Overwhelmed with emotion after spending most of the 2021-22 season away from his father, unable to help take care of him or support his wonderful mother, Laurie, Brock was able to only say a few words when asked about Duke during the end of the year at the Canucks Media Availability at Rogers Arena at 1 mayo.

It just doesn’t work very well,” Bowser said. “He has a really bad mental illness right now. It started and it got really bad this year. And it hit me really hard.”

This was the heavy burden that Brooke carried with him during a difficult season.

He was captivated by two reporters who cover the team closely that his father’s deteriorating health was often on his mind. Of course it will be. But he didn’t want to talk about it publicly while the Kanucks were still playing.

Since the day of Brooke’s draft in 2015, he and Laurie Bowser have been open about the challenges Duke and family have faced.

Laurie, who worked two and sometimes three jobs raising Brooke and his sister Jessica—they have an older brother than him, Paul—when Duke became unable to work, he wanted other families who might struggle to find strength and hope and believed that, too, they could last and triumph.

That’s what Boeser’s NHL career has been: a triumph for his family.

Brooke, who was thirteen years old when his father was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, said he was moved by the challenges he faced. When he was 17 years old, a year before he picked the Canucks 23research and development Overall from the United States Hockey League, Bowser lost a close friend, Ty Alyea, in a car crash in Minnesota. Brock was playing away with the US Under-18 team in Europe. Cole Borchardt, another close friend, was permanently injured in the accident.

Had he been at home, Bowser thinks he was in the jeep with his friends when it flipped over during a summer picnic to the lake.

“I’m not going to lie; it was a challenge,” Laurie Bowser told us in 2017 after Brock scored a goal on his first National Hockey League appearance—in Minnesota against the Wilderness. “But you know, you just have to do what you have to do for your family.

“Brock had some life scenarios where he had to be much older than I wanted him to be. He had a maturity about it, anyway, but then he had to put up with some of these things at a very young age. When you have experiences from this Like, you can’t help but grow as you deal with it.”

On August 6, 2020, in the only hockey game he would likely play in memory of his friend’s death, Brock scored a goal for the Canucks in a playoff game in the Edmonton Bubble. Of course, against Minnesota.

“I’m not saying hockey isn’t important, it’s important,” Bowser told Sportsnet earlier that year. “I want to win and I want to do the playoffs, and the game has already given me a lot. But life… there is a lot after hockey. Family is more important than hockey.”

Of Duke, Brooke said, “He wasn’t a crazy dad or anything, he was just a quiet dad watching games. I just remember growing up, I’d sit on his lap on a chair in the family room and we watched Wild, or college hockey or whatever. He would come with us skiing outdoors. After Parkinson’s disease came, he had to stop skiing. But these are some of the memories I have of him when I was a kid.”

Those are the memories that Brock will carry for the rest of his life, and that will need his support. Anyone who watched his press conference four weeks ago can see Bowser’s suffering over his dying father. And remember that now it is impossible not to feel his loss and know his grief.

Thankfully, it was these days in May to be with his dad and family, to just be a son, not a hockey player, and to share the burden of Duke’s last weeks. To say goodbye to a man who gave his wife, children, and the people he loved more than he could have.

Knowing the Boesers story, and how they represented the sacrifices many families made to raise their children, it was former Canucks coach Willie Desjardins who invited Duke and Laurie Boeser to read the lineup card before Brock’s first NHL game on March 25, 2017.

Desjardins described it as “a bigger hockey moment”. There were a lot of those for Brock.

“And starting on the right wing, I can’t believe it, Brooke Bowser,” Duke Bowser said that day in the locker room.

And then everyone cheered. as it should.

2022-05-27 18:35:00

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