Trudy Daley got to experience every hockey mom’s dream.
She saw her son, Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Trevor Daley, hoist the Stanley Cup triumphantly over his head after the Penguins defeated the San Jose Sharks 3-1 and won the championship series in six games.
Trevor Daley’s team won the Cup earlier this month. Trudy Daley lost her life last Tuesday at the age of 51, succumbing to cancer.
“Everyone who knew Trudy, knew her big personality and great love for life. She had a sense of humor which was a little warped at times but kept people laughing,” read her obituary posted on Toronto’s McDougall & Brown Funeral Home website. “She was a fierce friend, that always had your back no matter what. She was there when you needed her.”
She passed with her dying wish fulfilled, seeing her son carrying the Cup. He didn’t play in the Stanley Cup Final because of an ankle injury.
But he was on the ice in full gear following the Pens’ Game 6 win and was the first player team captain Sidney Crosby handed the Cup to after he received it from National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman .
“He had told me that he went and seen his mom in between series and stuff, she wasn’t doing well, she wanted to see him with the Cup. That was important to her,” Crosby said. “I think that kind of stuck with me after he told me that.”
The Cup-hoisting moment was as much Trudy’s as it was Trevor’s.
There’s no mom like a hockey mom – a woman who helps tie a young pee wee player’s skates; freezes herself to the bone watching her bantam player practice at midnight; logs hundreds of thousands of miles in the beat-up family car transporting her travel team player; and is a non-judgmental listening post and crying shoulder for the major junior player who aspires to play in the NHL.
Trudy Daley did that and more. She and her son had to navigate issues of race in what’s still a predominantly white sport. She didn’t sugar-coat the evils of racism to her son nor would she allow bigotry to be used as a crutch or obstacle that could prevent him from achieving his career goals.
“What his father and I stressed to him was that we know who your are,” she told author Cecil Harris in his seminal book “Breaking The Ice: The Black Experience in Professional Hockey.” “But when you go out on that street you’re just another black kid. That’s how you’ll be treated. They’ll stereotype you. But think less about what certain people think about you and think more about who you really are.”
She is survived by her husband, Trevor Daley Sr., and their three children, Trevor, Tereen, Nicholas; six grand children, Deja, Trevor, Dekye, Malaya, Emery and Nicky along with her brother and sisters and countless friends.
Hockey has lost a great mom. Rest in peace, Trudy Daley.