Dad’s attention is divided, what with one son playing in the Memorial Cup and another in the AHL Calder Cup semifinals
Steve Bishop played a lot hockey and coached a lot of hockey in his day, so the rink has always been a second home.
Heck, Bishop even manages an arena, in C.B.S..
But the hockey venue has been causing Bishop a certain degree of stress these days, not that he’d trade it for the world.
“You know what they say,” Bishop said, “when you’re playing and, to a certain degree, when you’re coaching, you can control what’s going on, and you’re not overly nervous.
“Sitting and watching is another story. Now that I’m at the rink as a fan, I’m on the edge of my seat with every shot.”
The Faulkners of Bishop’s Falls were, and likely always will be, Newfoundland’s first family of hockey, but for this week, anyway, that honour belongs to the Bishops of St. John’s, and Steve is the patriarch.
In Halifax, Joel Bishop, 20, has helped the Halifax Mooseheads gain a berth into Sunday's Memorial Cup final, while older brother, Clark, 23, is with the Charlotte Checkers, who have a 2-1 series lead on fellow St. John’s native Colin Greening and the Toronto Marlies in the American Hockey League’s Eastern Conference final.
“This is not something you envision when the kids are growing up,” said Bishop, who coached both boys in minor hockey in St. John’s.
One of those teams was the St. John’s Canadian Tire Caps, which won the 2011 Atlantic Canada bantam championship. Three of Steve Bishop’s centremen on that squad were Clark, Nathan Noel, now of the AHL’s Rockford Icehogs, and Tyler Boland, who won the Canadian university hockey championship in March with the UNB Varsity Reds.
“They had a lot of interest in a lot of sports … soccer, golf, you name it, and they decided what they wanted to play,” Steve said of his two boys. “As they got older, they were pretty good for their division, and they were making provincial teams.
“Then, when you get to the (Canada) Winter Games, you see what’s out there and it’s an eye-opener. So to see them now is pretty surreal.”
Steve Bishop, the former Avalon junior player from years ago, coached hockey in three Canada Games, and his boys appeared in two Winter Games.
This season, Clark saw his first taste of action in the NHL, 20 games in total with the Carolina Hurricanes. Clark Bishop potted his first NHL goal, and dressed for a pair of Stanley Cup playoff games.
He had his share of injuries in Charlotte this season, scoring three goals and three assists in 38 games.
In Halifax, 20-year-old Joel is one of the longest-tenured Mooseheads, having played four full seasons after getting drafted by the team in the sixth round of the 2015 QMJHL Entry Draft.
Joel Bishop, who is also a forward, has been Mr. Dependable for the Herd this year, playing on the team’s top penalty-killing unit and is quite often on the ice late in the game when Halifax is nursing a lead.
He chipped in with 11 goals and 33 points in 58 regular season games, and had a goal and five points in 23 Quebec Major Junior Hockey league playoff games.
“There’s no doubt I’m on Cloud 9 these days,” said Steve Bishop, who along with wife, Millie, also have 18-year-old Julia, who was a fine volleyball player while in high school.
While he may be in Halifax for the Memorial Cup, Steve is also keeping an eye to the AHL Calder Cup playoffs, and Clark’s Checkers.
Just the other night at Scotiabank Centre, Bishop was watching both a Memorial Cup game and a Calder Cup playoff game on his phone.
“This has been a week we’re not likely to forget any time soon,” he said.