Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Difference Makers (a post by Todd)

Hello everyone
Well, it’s finally here. It seems like only yesterday that Canada was awarded the bid to host the 2010 Winter Games. The last 6 years have flown by and as I get ready to leave to play in the games again this year I can only think back to everyone that has helped me get to where I am today.

For those that have been watching The Games, there is a program called “The Difference Makers, with Rick Hanson”. I wanted to be able to share with everyone my difference makers that have helped me get to where I am.
First and foremost, I would not be able to still play this game I love so much if I didn’t have the love and support of my wife, Emily. Since the birth of Gwen and Tate she has understood how important these Games were to everyone and how this year was going to be filled with sacrifices from the day they were born. Four days after the birth of the kids, while everyone was still in the hospital, I left for a training camp in Toronto. Even after 4 days, I could see the change in the kids when I came back, so you can only imagine how much I miss everyone every time I leave. This year was no different, other than most of our trips were here in Canada. When I left for my last trip out to Vancouver, baby gates were something that I thought wasn’t a big rush, and I still had some more time to install. To my surprise, after a five-day road trip, I was met at the door by a crawling Tate upon my return. I feel as though I have missed so much of the kids firsts this year because of the games, but Emily has done a great job of making sure that I still see the pictures or home videos and I know that when we all look back at this for years to come, the kids will have so much more to remember and have the experience of a lifetime. Emily has also had a chance to get even closer with her parents, Bob and Margaret, if that is possible, because every time I go in the road they are the first phone call that Emily makes when looking for help. Everyone has been a great help this year and all have only been a phone call away.

My family, what can I say that my mother hasn’t already told everyone. My parents are two people that have always been there for each and every one of us, from that damm cow bell that when I was playing hockey when I was a kid, ringing in the stands that I can’t get out my head... I hated it when I was playing. Now after 24 years playing for Canada, I can’t wait to hear that same bell every time I get on the ice now somewhere in the world. Mom and Dad have always been to the big games with me and I’m so happy that the snow birds are flying home this year to make it just as exciting as it has always been. This year will be very different than back in 1994 when I skated on the ice for the first time and was able to pick out Mom and Dad in the stands because they were the only other Canadians there.

On December 18, 1987, my life changed sometimes for the bad but for the most part it has been GREAT. Kevin, Jason and Gordie have made sacrifices because of my accident, but I know that I would not be where I am today if they were not beside me every step of the way. As you have read in Gordie’s blog he has enjoyed the sports and playing along side some very cool athletes, all I can say is thank you for coming along for the ride. Over the years Kevin, Jason and Gordie have all been a part of my success and the reason why I have been successful in sport and in life. I have never been left out in anything that I ever wanted to do, if anything it was sometime difficult to find a guinea pig to come out with me to certain sports... for some reason I couldn’t get any of my family members to jump out of a perfectly good airplane at 15,000 feet - what a rush! As I now have a family of my own, I can see what I have been missing and why it is so hard to get away from it all. I am so happy that everyone will be going this year and super excited everyone is coming with their families as well. What a rush!!!!!!!

What can I say; I have some of the best friends in the world. I have surrounded myself with some friends that have pushed me at times to do things that I didn’t think were possible and some that literally have pushed me off cliffs while downhill skiing and didn’t have a clue what I was doing. But, through it all, my friends have always been there when I needed them most and all it took was “can I get some help?” and I had to turn people away because you just kept coming and coming. The experience of The Games here in Canada is something that I will never forget, but having all of my family and some very important friends in the stands cheering Canada on will not only be something that I will never forget but never be able to say thank you for being a big part of my life so far. Enjoy the games like they are the first and last you have been too or will ever get the chance to go to again. When it comes to friends I can’t say enough about the people that I work with, I know before anyone else says anything I do work sometime for the Federal Governement. I don’t know what I’m going to do when I finish playing hockey because I’m not sure if I am going to be able to go into the office for 12 months of the year. I don’t know how anyone else can do it. Sue Gougeon and Steve Letourneau are only two of the Managers that I have had over the years, all of the CBSA staff that I have worked with have always been behind me with my outreach of activities, with sports and every time I go away they have always welcomed me back. As an athlete, knowing that you still have a job when you get back to the real world is a comfort that I will never forget and can never repay. I have made some great friends at work and I’m sure will make many more in the years to come.

The Games
Let the games begin. As I start my 5th Paralympic journey on the road from Calgary Alberta February 27 to my final destination Vancouver BC March 6th to 23 I can only look back and see where this sport has come from and where it will go. This year’s final preparation starts in Kimberley from Feb 27th to March 1st, Trail BC March 1st to 4th (home of the great Mike Mondin, Assistant Coach), Kelowna BC March 4th to 6th, and then arrival at the Olympic Paralympic Village in Vancouver March 6th to 23rd. The Opening Ceremony will be on March 12, 2010 and I hope to keep everyone up to date with my travels during the games and if there is anything you want to know or hear about I will try and put it in the blog.

A special thank you to the community that our family has grown up in over the years, we would not have been able to survive without the support that has come from this great place we now call home.
Todd Nicholson
#19 Team Canada

The Nicholsons - November 2007
Gwen & Tate are ready for their big trip to Vancouver!


  1. Hi Todd,
    It's been nice to get to know you through Jenn's blog and now to hear from you yourself.
    I wish you the best of luck next month!
    Also, did you visit Elmdale school recently? My daughter said that some sledge hockey players came for a visit and she was very excited about it...but she keeps talking about the parallel Olympics :)
    Again, best of luck!

  2. Hi Todd,
    All the best for your prep towards Vancouver. Enjoy!