By Chris Langrill
The Idaho Statesman
BOISE, Idaho – New Idaho Steelheads assistant captain Steve Gainey grew up sharing his father with all of Canada.
And that was OK with him.
“People would stop my dad on the street, and we’d stop and he’d give them an autograph or whatever and we’d go our way,” Gainey said. “It’s nice to see people treat your father with respect. It was always enjoyable to see him in that light.”
The reason people saw his father, Bob Gainey, in that light was because he was a national treasure of sorts. Certainly a Montreal treasure.
Bob Gainey is the Montreal Canadiens’ general manager. He played for Montreal from 1973 to 1989, and collected five Stanley Cup championships along the way. The Canadiens retired his No. 23 jersey in February.
The elder Gainey’s accomplishments have made him a recognizable figure throughout the country.
“You can put him in a small town where you would never expect that someone would recognize him, and they do,” Steve said. “In Montreal, you can understand it, but it’s like that across Canada.”
Steve said he and his father shared some good times in hockey rinks through the years.
“Going out on the ice with him was always exciting,” he said, “whether it was before practice or after practice.”
Steve is an accomplished player in his own right. He’s played in 33 NHL games in four seasons. He last played in 2005-06, when he saw action in 20 games with the Phoenix Coyotes.
After taking a two-year break from the sport, the 29-year-old left wing said he is rejuvenated and ready to get back on the ice in a Steelheads uniform.
“It’s really enjoyable,” he said. “It reminds me of when I was younger and playing hockey was all I really wanted to do. I’m excited to be back.”