Posted at: 02/15/2014 10:24 PM
The best hockey game this year was arguably the Winter Classic in Detroit. That was until Saturday morning in Sochi when Team USA and Russia played to an epic finish, but it was at that outdoor game on New Year's when the Team USA's roster was unveiled.
The announcement for those lucky enough to dawn the red, white and blue in the Olympics was completely different this time around. For one local youth hockey player, this meant the chance to be connected to Team USA for a lifetime.
Hockey is a generational affair. The sport is passed down from father to son, like family heirlooms.
“We grew up playing hockey since we were very small. (We) didn't take very many family vacations because anytime there was a break, there was a hockey tournament somewhere,” said Steve McDermott.
Born and raised in hockeytown, Steve McDermott relocated to Rochester to have a family. Five years ago Steve and Erica's oldest, Ryan, put skates on for the first time.
“I like having fun with my teammates and playing a lot,” said Ryan McDermott.
To no surprise, Steve and Ryan are lifelong Detroit fans and last month the Red Wings placed a call to the Rochester Grizzlies defenseman looking for his services.
“The Detroit Red Wings contacted my brother, who in turn contacted my son and asked if he wanted to be a part of the Winter Classic as a guest of the Detroit Red Wings,” said Steve McDermott.
Ryan joined 23 other youth hockey players from across the country to help unveil the Team USA roster for the Sochi games.
“Walking out and seeing my son on the ice in front of 105,000 people with these gigantic NHL players to the left of him was surreal,” said Erica McDermott, Ryan’s mother.
“I was a little nervous, but happy at the same time,” said Ryan McDermott.
“Why were you happy?” asked News10NBC’s Stephen Bond.
“Because I got to skate on the ice and represent Team USA and Ryan Suter,” said Ryan.
“It was quite an experience for us and our son, who was really the star of the show,” said Steve.
As for the man that McDermott was representing, Suter says having the next generation part of the team is inspiring.
The Sochi games may be 5,000 miles away, but a hockey crazed family from western New York will forever be linked to the American's defenseman and Team USA.
“I was honored to wear it for him,” said Ryan McDermott.
“Now to have this personal connection is quite incredible and to know we played a part in that in some way is pretty outstanding,” said Erica McDermott.
The McDermotts are die-hard Detroit Red Wing fans, but they say they now hold a special place for Ryan Suter, and of course Team USA.