When a snowstorm threatened to prevent minor league hockey player Pierre-Cedric Labrie from seeing the birth of his child, he got help from an unlikely source: a player on an opposing team.
Last Saturday, Labrie and his teammates on the Milwaukee Admirals took a bus to play a game in Grand Rapids, Michigan. During the bus ride, Labrie got a text from his wife Jana Pieuze-Roy, who was nine months pregnant.
“She’s like, ‘Yeah, I’m having some cramps,'” Labrie recalls. “I’m like, ‘Tell me right now. I’ll stop the bus and get a ride from here.’ She said, ‘No, I’m going to be fine.'”
Labrie continued on with the team to Grand Rapids, only to receive a phone call from Pieuze-Roy the next morning telling him that her water broke. With the anticipation that her labor could be quick, Labrie knew he had to get back to Milwaukee as soon as possible.
Unfortunately, that proved to be easier said than done. Private car services were booked because of New Year’s Eve and cabs declined to take him anywhere because of a snowstorm. His best bet was to catch a flight at 6:30 in the morning to Chicago, still leaving him with a 90-minute drive to Milwaukee.
Without many options, Labrie decided to wake up teammate Mark Zengerle, who had previously played in Grand Rapids, to ask him if he knew anybody with a car. Zengerle thought of Tom McCollum, a goalie on the Grand Rapids team.
“It was kind of funny the way he said it,” McCollum explains. “He was like, ‘Hey, I’ve got a question; it’s totally cool if you say no,’ and just kind of explained the situation of what happened.”
Having played against Labrie a few times and noting him as “honest hockey player,” McCollum agreed to loan his truck and Labrie was on his way shortly before 3 a.m.
Labrie arrived at the hospital at 6:15, and baby Lionel, weighing 5 pounds and 15 ounces, was born at 6:54. On Wednesday, Labrie was able to return McCollum’s keys to him after Grand Rapids beat Milwaukee 4-2.