By Ellen Chlumecky
January 27, 2015
The 2015 NHL All Star Game in Columbus was once again a huge hit for all hockey fans. Players from Toews to Stamkos to Ovechkin to Foligno battled it out in competitions and the final game to see who was the best of the best. While the game was fast paced and entertaining, I couldn’t help notice something even better on the bench of Team Foligno. Darryl Sutter who was coaching Team Foligno brought his son, Chris, to help him coach.
Chris Sutter was born in 1993 with a type of Down Syndrome called Trisomy 21. Trisomy 21 is a genetic disorder that impacts a child’s physical and mental development. While most people tend to keep personal details about their life under wraps, Darryl Sutter is very open about discussing his son’s long battle. Darryl Sutter spoke to the LA Kings’s writer about the trials and tribulations that his son has gone through during his life. He even discusses how when Chris was born, how the doctors didn’t believe that he would live for very long. The doctors said that if he did manage to live long, he would spend the majority of his life in an institution.
Chris has certainly defied the odds. When the LA Kings won the Stanley Cup in 2014, he was one of the proud few that were able to lift the Stanley Cup over his head. I’m sure the doctors that delivered him never could have predicted that. I’m sure they also could have never predicted him sitting next to his proud father at the NHL All Star game.
Chris was giving a pep talk to Patrick Kane after Team Foligno was losing in the third period to Team Toews. He was congratulating his players and giving Bobby Ryan a fist bump when he scored a goal. He helped coach with his dad throughout the whole game and the players listened intently to his instruction.
I am so proud of the NHL in how far they have come in terms of acceptance. Darryl Sutter said that he would not be a coach for the ALL Star game if his son couldn’t sit on the bench with him. The NHL had no hesitation to let him to do it and all for Chris being the assistant coach to his father. I am proud to be a fan of such an amazing organization that wants everyone’s dreams to come true.