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The City Journals

Father and Son Hit the Ice

Apr 07, 2016 04:57PM ● By Tori La Rue

By Tori La Rue | [email protected]

South Jordan - Ice hockey became the Telford family sport when Jason Telford was 6 years old.

“My father and I started playing about the same time, and I got the bug after he got the bug,” Telford said. 

Telford played through his teen and early adult years, but at about the age of 21 he got married and later attained a job as an airline pilot. He got caught up in family and work matters, leaving no time or money for hockey, but his passion for the sport lived on, he said. 

When life calmed down, Telford found himself hitting the ice again. This time, Telford’s 6-year-old son Taylor came along, echoing Telford’s hockey experiences with his own dad.

Soon Telford found himself encompassed in the sport once again. He was coaching Taylor’s hockey teams and teaching his younger sons, Marcus and Tucker, how to play the game.

“I’ve come to realize if you take any kid with skates and stick a stick in his hand, they have the same experience — they like it,” Telford said. “It’s fun because it makes it easier for us to enjoy a sport together.”

One of the family’s favorite activities is to watch hockey games together, whether that means watching and supporting family members in their own games, or cheering on the family’s favorite professional team — the Colorado Avalanche. While Telford’s wife and 19-year-old daughter don’t play the sport, they are still avid supporters and hockey fans.

Telford and Taylor, now 17, just wrapped up an impressive season with the Bingham High School hockey team, Taylor said. Telford led the team as head coach and Taylor led the team as team captain. For the first part of the season, the team went undefeated. They placed second in their division and third at state. 

“It’s the best season we’ve had since I started on the team as a freshman,” Taylor said. “It’s like our team just boomed this year.”

Taylor thinks the team bonded this year because they spend a lot of time together, even when they are not at practice, and because of the help they receive from their coaches. 

“My dad’s not the yelling type, but when he does yell, it gets to you,” Taylor said. “He knows when and where to yell, but most of the time he trusts you and lets you do your thing.” 

Telford’s training is especially influential for Taylor.

“It’s the best thing in the world having someone you know personally who trusts you, coach you,” Taylor said. “It puts a lot of pressure on me with him being the coach, but it’s really motivating. After the games he’s pumped about how well I played.” 

His dad won’t lecture him when he has an off game. Telford waits for his son to bring up his concerns about the game before giving his advice.

“He’s been there and knows how it feels to mess up on the ice,” Taylor said. 

“I’ve got to be careful he doesn’t get special treatment, so I remove myself as a father figure when he’s on the ice,” Telford said. “But it’s fun to be involved with your son. It’s a situation where we enjoy doing the same things that each other likes to do, so we get to spend time together.” 

Kevan Guy, assistant coach, said he doesn’t notice Taylor getting any preferential treatment. He said that Telford is knowledgeable, and he passes that onto his son, which helps his son to be one of the best on the team. 

When the father-and-son duo watch professional hockey games on TV, Telford will occasionally pause the games to teach Taylor about their positioning or about what the team is doing. Taylor said this helps him develop skills for Bingham games because the game is “90 percent mental.”

Taylor’s hoping to play hockey for the University of Utah after high school graduation. 

“My dad’s been coaching my teams since I started, and I haven’t played a season without him,” Taylor said. “I’m honestly kind of nervous to play without him coaching at the college level.” 

Although his dad won’t be there to coach, Taylor knows his dad will continue to be his biggest supporter and fan as he progresses to the collegiate level.