Save of the Year: AHL goalie helps opponent get home in time for birth of his son

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Pierre-Cedric Labrie played three seasons for the Tampa Bay Lightning. (AP)
Pierre-Cedric Labrie played three seasons for the Tampa Bay Lightning. (AP)

Hockey royalty was about to be born into the world, and the father wasn’t going to be there to see it.

Milwaukee Admirals (AHL) left wing Pierre-Cedric Labrie was at his hotel on Saturday, the night before a game against the Grand Rapids Griffins, when the 31-year-old journeyman got a text after midnight from his pregnant girlfriend, Jana Piuze-Roy, the daughter of Hall of Fame goaltender Patrick Roy.

“Water broke,” the text said, according to a heartwarming story from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

As the story goes, Labrie couldn’t find a flight that would get him to the hospital in Milwaukee until 8 a.m. Car services were either unwilling to drive four-plus hours through a snowstorm or already booked for New Year’s Eve. So, Labrie woke up Admirals teammate Mark Zengerle, who played in Grand Rapids a few years back, and asked him if he had any bright ideas. They took a shot in the dark.

Zengerle texted Griffins backup goalie Tom McCollum, who lived near the hotel, asking if Labrie could borrow his truck. McCollum obliged, even though all he knew about Labrie was that he seemed like a standup guy when they faced each other. McCollum wasn’t home, but his girlfriend gave Labrie the keys, and he was on his way, driving through snow, hoping to get to the hospital in time for the birth.

“If he didn’t let me, I would have been panicking,” Labrie told the Journal Sentinel. “I would have been walking the street, like, ‘Hey, you. How much you want, you drive me to Milwaukee right now?’ I was, like, panicking. I need to get there.”

Labrie made it with little time to spare, arriving at the hospital around 6:15 a.m. Piuze-Roy delivered the couple’s son Lionel — Patrick Roy’s grandson and maybe a future hockey legend himself — at 6:54.

“He offered to pay me for [using the truck],” McCollum told the Journal Sentinel. “I just asked him to fill it up with gas, and he was nice enough he washed it for me before he gave it back. That’s all I need honestly.

“I was happy to be able to facilitate the situation. I was more than thrilled when he texted me that he made it in time.”

The Griffins came to Milwaukee for a game on Wednesday, so McCollum picked up his truck, met Labrie for the first time, and drove back to Grand Rapids after making the biggest save of his career.

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