"Live on to dream again."
Name: T.E. Blaisdell Jr. (Teddy)
Hometown: Manchester, NH
Professional Sports: Manchester Monarchs Associate Equipment Manager 2001-present day
(Photo by: Rich Tilton)
I’ve seen a lot of kids walk through our doors. They all have two things in common: love of our game, and dreams of making it to “The Show”. It’s unfortunate most don’t get to their dream, but other dreams will come along.
I’m 71, so I know about dreams. I’ve lived through a lot of dreams, and never stopped going for the next one. Here’s a little synopsis of my dreams, and why you should never stop pursuing them.
In my younger days, I was a highly rated football player. I was recruited by a lot of teams, said to be a “sure thing”. I saw this as an opportunity to dream, and that is exactly what I did. However, the old fickle finger of fate showed up for the first time in my life. That seemed to be a common theme in my dreams. One game, I caught a ball, got tackled. As I fought for that extra inch, I planted my hand to keep my knees off the ground. I got tackled from the side, and my wrist exploded. Eight months and three surgeries later, my hand never fully opened again. No more “sure thing”.
My hand wouldn’t open, but I could make a tight fist. I went back to boxing. I lived that dream for a while until old fickle finger showed up again. Knee problem. The doctors took a look. “You got bone cancer.” They removed my patella and other pieces of my knee. They fused my leg in a stiff position. I survived cancer, but that was the end of that dream.
I fell back to my education. The most important thing you can ever do is get an education. I took up an engineering career. Three years later, replacement knees came along and I was offered to try one. “It might work, it might not,” stated the doc. It was better than a stiff leg.
Life goes on. Family, cancer, house, etc. I took up golf again! Life was pretty good. My wife and I were at Doral Country Club in Miami. We got paired up with another couple. They were great people and we had a lot of fun with them. We decided to play another round with them. The husband, Phil, turned out to be the vice president of Bullet Golf, who at the time, was a major supporter of the Senior Tour. He was impressed with my game, and said I should try their clubs. I was happy with mine, but he wouldn’t take no for an answer. Two days later we were going to play Blue Monster, our wives were headed to play another course. To my surprise, I walked up to our cart right there, and on the back sat a new set of shiny Bullet Clubs to my specs. A bag with my name. Shirts and balls. Needless to say, I was impressed and the clubs turned out great!
Phil convinced me that I was good enough to play on the Senior Tour in a couple of years and wanted to sponsor me. At the time, we were financially set, so they got me to play on the Junior tours. I was playing pretty well, but the good old fickle finger of fate never fails to disappoint. I had a neck problem and the tour trainers said to rest for a week or so. We came home and the next day, my wife took one look at me when I got up and called the doctor immediately. My right side of my face was completely slack. Oops!! Brain tumor on my brain stem. It is extremely rare and the doctors told me there was a 5% chance to survive surgery with a life expectancy of a few weeks to a month. I had the surgery and I’m still here. Two years of recovery and you’d think there are no more dreams to be had at 48. Don’t ever stop.
I was fortunate to meet the right people and got into this organization. It’s funny how things turn out. I never dreamed this. As it turns out, this has become the most rewarding part of my life. I get to see young kids turn into men and go on and live their own dreams.
(Photo by: Rich Tilton)
Kevin is one of those kids. I’ve known him since he was 12. His dad, Mark, was our coach for eight years. Not only is he a great coach, he taught his kids well. Kevin is now a second-year pro with us and now wears the “A” on his jersey, living his dream. I’m sure his dad is pleased he raised a leader.
The point is, you never know where this life will lead you. No matter what happens, never give up, because you never know what’s around the corner. Always remember every dream has an end, and you wake up only to again have another dream. This one could be the one you were meant to live.
Always hope for the best, expect the worst, but live on to dream again.
Testimonials: Teddy’s Impact
Head Hockey Coach- St. Lawrence University
"At first glance, Teddy Blaisdell might remind you of 'Mickey' Goldmill, the fictitious character who trained Rocky Balboa. Watch the YouTube scene from one of the Rocky films called 'Mickey Loves You' and you'll have a clearer understanding of what Teddy Blaisdell means to players pursuing their dreams of fame and glory in the game. Current and past Monarch players will attest to the time he puts into making things right for others. Beneath Teddy's battle scars and rugged appearance lies a man with a heart of gold, a man with a love for people and sport, and a guy that's a giver in life. Having graduated with high honors from the school of hard knocks, and his extensive boxing background, he learned when you get knocked down in life you get right back up. During my eight seasons in Manchester, I witnessed how Teddy influences and impacts the lives of people around the locker room. He's quick to lend a helping hand and takes the time to assist team members. His handyman attributes around the rink and cheerful demeanor is displayed daily, as he greets every player with a firm handshake, a slap on the shoulder followed by a positive quip to keep everything light and upbeat. Teddy's encouragement and energy embodies the notion of teamwork."
Current: NHL Vice President of Business Development and International Affairs
Former: 2012 Stanley Cup Champion, 5 year NHLer for the LA Kings, Carolina Hurricanes, Calgary Flames
“I first came to Manchester during my senior year of college, so I felt a little over my head joining the pro ranks. Luckily, hockey people are the best and make it easy to join a new team and family. Teddy was a big part of that family. He was always there working hard, with no complaints and a smile on his face. The best part, finding out he didn’t grow up in hockey, but found his way to our community, was reassuring, as he fit the culture perfectly. Talking with him and understanding some of the challenges he’d overcome gave us all a great perspective and sense of how lucky we were, and reminded us to make the most of any opportunity.
Looking back at our careers and lives, after all the highs and lows, we always come back to the people we’ve met, and connections we’ve made. Teddy will always be a part of my hockey life, and someone I’ll never forget.”
TNG Founder, Professional Hockey Player
“Our equipment staff in Manchester recently had new T-shirts made up for themselves. ‘First to come, last to leave.’ Teddy and his staff do just that. Day in and day out they keep the machine of the organization well-oiled and prepared for excellence. Especially on the not-so-good days, these guys find a way to give. As a player, I’ve realized that you can never be thankful enough to the people who work such a thankless job.
It’s amazing how much the clip above exemplifies Teddy’s relationship with his players. He is always there to offer just the right remedy of conversation to lift our spirits back up, no matter what he has going on in his life. Not long after I asked him to write, we were on the road. I walked into the room and he slipped his pen and paper story into my pocket. I smiled, laughed to myself, and continued on getting ready for our game that night. After the game, I shared the story with a few guys at the dinner table. Nearing tears, we all agreed that his story needed to be shared. To us, he represents a true warrior and a man of courage.”