GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.-- The Grand Rapids Griffins have two new fathers on the team this year. Eric Tangradi and his wife Caitlyn welcomed their baby girl on October 26. On the 29th Tangradi was sidelined for 12 games due to an upper body injury.
“You know it’s definitely unfortunate to get hurt anytime in hockey," said Tangradi. "But, for it to be two days after the birth of my first child I definitely think it was definitely God’s plan for me to be home for a little bit, spend some quality time with the family and yeah, it couldn’t have worked out any better."
Leading scorer for the Griffins, Ben Street, and his wife Jessica, welcomed their daughter, in the first week of December and Ben was happy to have a teammate that could relate.
“Yeah it was really cool to have the Tangradi's that were due right around us," said Street. "I actually played with Eric a few years ago and our wives know each other, so when the pregnancies were announced and we figured out, wow those due dates are pretty close together, we could sorta share stories and lean on each other a little bit.”
Both players saying they have a whole new appreciation for sleep and what it means to be playing for somebody other than themselves.
“Definitely have a new appreciation for sleep," said Street. "I also just have a new understanding for how much sleep I really need. We’re kinda just sleeping a couple hours at a time, but my wife’s been really good on game nights, she goes into the spare bed and lets me and the dog sleep in our room, so it’s been good so far and hopefully it keeps up like that.”
“Every single minute, whether its coming home on a road trip at three in the morning just to say hello or playing three games in three nights," explained Tangradi. "Any time I step on the ice there’s somebody in the stands that you know it makes my heart melt a little bit and it makes me wanna play even harder.”
A couple of blessings for the holiday season.
“You know it’s the time for family to come together anyway and it’s just really special that our daughter is here and you know it’s the first grandchild on both sides for the family, so we’ve had a pretty full household already and it’s gonna continue to be full," said Street. "We’re just really looking forward to sharing her with her family and having everybody around.”
“The holidays are always special no matter what, but you know to have the little one now a part of things," added Tangradi. "I think it definitely brings more light to the holidays and I’ve always been a big holiday guy and I’m hopefully gonna bring that into her life as well."