twenty six

"Men are respectable only as they respect.” - Ralph Waldo Emmerson Jere-1

I’ll never forget the first time I met Jere Lehtinen. I was on the bench at a local rink where my son plays hockey; it was early in the season & I was acutely aware that the three-time Selke winner was in the building - and that our son’s would be playing on the same team - but I never expected to talk to him. My attention was on my son, so I didn’t notice that someone was standing behind me. In a quiet voice, Jere asked me how long we had been on the team and then introduced himself. We spoke for a while after that, just two dads at Mini Mite practice.


Not long after, I began shooting for the Stars and was able to catch a glimpse, at fairly close range, of the dedication he showed to his teammates and the organization for 14 seasons. His focus and preparation are a thing of legend. Just look at any of the articles written in the few hours since his retirement was announced and you will see a ubiquitous theme - respect. Teammates, coaches, opponents and fans - they all respect Jere.

"In all of the time I coached him, I never once had to speak to him about being ready to play. He was a coach's dream that way," former coach, Ken Hitchcock remembered, "You could put him on any line... and he automatically made that line better. That's a pretty strong statement about a player.''

Jere-4Jere Lehtinen suits up in the 2nd intermission of his final NHL game.

His humility, also a thing of legend, kept him in that other guys shadow on most nights, but for the better part of the last 14 years, number 26 was the most reliable player on the ice. You know, the kind of teammate you hope your kid grows up to be. From my vantage point - whether it was as a fan, a photographer or one of the dad's at hockey practice - Jere has been an example of how to conduct yourself on and off the ice - and for the entirety of his NHL career, we here in Dallas had the distinct honor of calling him ours.

Thanks Jere, for everything.

Jere-3Jere & his son during the anthem at American Airlines Center

**EDIT** There are a ton of really great photos from Jere's career (some by me) on You should take a minute to check them out.