In part two of the Throwback Thursday series featuring Ken Daneyko, he shares his Growing Up Hockey story. This story defines why he is called Mr. Devil.
“I was born in Windsor, Ontario,” Daneyko said as he began his tale. “But I grew up in Edmonton, Alberta. [We] left when I was six and a half years old to Edmonton. In Windsor, my dad would freeze the backyard and we would start skating. My first experience as a four year old, I got on skates and went head first on the ice…stitches in my head, so I didn’t have a very promising career starting off as a player.
“I still have a little scar to this day right on my forehead. My mom was like, ‘Oh my God, I know everybody plays hockey in Canada, but if this is the way it’s going to be….’ She hated blood and panicked.
“My dad, born in Germany, never knew [anything] about hockey. My dad was a soccer guy. But when it came to Canada, he knew he had a lot to learn about hockey. He didn’t speak English until he came to Canada. But he made ice in the backyard, which would freeze over all the holes….we were very blue collar. He was just trying to make his way over in Canada coming over from Germany, so it was a lot to give us a little place to skate. I had an older brother who played hockey as well.
“My parents were just supportive. They never pushed. They just saw they had a kid that was a fanatic. I told them many times. I told my mother since I was seven years old every day, fifty times a day, I was going to play in the National Hockey League.
“As much as I was a blue collar type player and a hard worker in the trenches of the National Hockey League, I was pretty good growing up. I was pretty talented like a lot of kids in the NHL. I was offensive when I was young. I was ranked the best defenseman in Edmonton when I was 14 years old and in offense too.
“I look back. I reflect now. Sometimes I think, ‘Wow, I was a fanatic.’ I wanted to play so darn bad and nobody was going to tell me differently. I had a lot of self doubt. Believe me. There were kids better. There were 10 Ken Daneykos in every corner. That was true in Edmonton.”