A hockey player who started his career in Salmon Arm is in the midst of his most memorable NHL season yet.
On April 5, Curtis Lazar, then playing for the Buffalo Sabres, and wife Reanne welcomed their first child, Owen.
Less than a week later, at 11 p.m. on the night before the NHL’s trade deadline of April 12, Lazar got a phone call informing him he’d been traded from Buffalo to the Boston Bruins.
Not only did this mean that he and his family would have to move to a new city , it also meant he’d be moving from a team that missed the playoffs to a team that’s a Stanley Cup contender.
Lazar originally planned to come back home to Kelowna to be with Reanne while she delivered their baby. However, due to Canada’s mandatory two-week quarantine, if they did that Lazar would have been unable to play for a long time.
“My wife, the trooper that she is, at 35 weeks pregnant, she hopped on a plane and came down to Buffalo,” said Lazar.
Lazar said the Sabres organization was happy he was available to play more games with them and that they helped set up all the doctors and medical attention necessary for Reanne.
“Our baby was born in Buffalo and a week later moved to Boston,” said Lazar. “So that’s definitely a cool story that he’s going to be able to tell all his friends about as he gets older.”
Lazar said he was stressed about the move but that the Bruins organization is top notch and was a big help in getting his family settled in Massachusetts. His family is enjoying exploring Boston and being part of the community there.
Lazar has been settling in well with his new team too and said it was a seamless transition. He’s had a warm welcome from management and the players on the team. Lazar said that as a Bruin, you have a job to do every game — there’s no grey area.
“As a player, that’s great. Every time you step on the ice there’s a standard that’s been set and you’ve got to hit that,” said Lazar.
In the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs, the Bruins defeated the Washington Capitals in five games. During the series, Lazar won 58 per cent of the face-offs he was in.
Having his family in the stands watching him means a lot to Lazar. Even though his son is too young to understand what’s going on at the arena, Lazar wants to be a role model for him and said there’s no better time to start doing that than now.
“It puts things in perspective. Hockey, it really is just a game,” said Lazar. “Obviously I love it, it’s my passion, it’s my job, but my family’s always going to come first and foremost.”