SIOUX CITY | What lengths did you go to in order to attend Friday’s playoff game at the Tyson Events Center? Of 2,943 fans, I’m not sure anyone can top Rhonda Adduono’s path.
Adduono worked a double shift at her salon Tuesday and Wednesday, getting her clients in and out of the chair so she could join son Austin Adduono and husband Kenny Adduono in making the 644-mile, 11-hour drive from Thunder Bay, Ontario. The trio left Thursday afternoon, spent the night in Mankato, Minn., and left there early Friday so Austin could have his traditional pre-game meal with his Musketeers teammates at Perkins Restaurant in downtown Sioux City.
Tradition paid dividends as the home team scored a 4-3 overtime victory to extend the United States Hockey League playoff series with Waterloo. The teams face each other in game four at 7:05 p.m. Sunday at the Tyson Events Center.
You can bet the Adduonos will be there. Where else is there?
Austin Addouno, 20, is a forward for Sioux City. He hasn’t played since Feb. 22, when he suffered a separated shoulder in a game at Des Moines.
“I got home that night (in Thunder Bay) and turned on the game,” Kenny Adduono says. “I began watching just as they took Austin off the ice. He sent me a picture of his shoulder a little later.”
Dad didn’t know what to think.
“I thought he’d gotten a new haircut,” he remembers.
The inside of Austin’s right shoulder, though not entirely visible in photos, was a mess. He was soon heading home to Canada for surgery as doctors inserted a metal plate and screws to hold muscles and bone in place.
“They want the muscles to grow back tight so he can continue his hockey career,” Kenny says.
Tight. That describes this family of four. When Kenny and Rhonda aren’t driving 1,244 miles to watch Austin, they’re driving or flying all over Canada to watch son Keanu Adduono, 17. He’s a forward playing for a team in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Vancouver is 2,000 miles from Thunder Bay.
The Adduonos grab a couple of cold beers at the Tyson Events Center on Friday as I contemplate aspirin. Their two sons play a collective 2,644 miles from home and Mom and Dad still get to several of their games? (I’ll admit: I sometimes hesitate going to one of my kids’ games in a faraway place like Denison or Ida Grove. Hence, my visions of aspirin.)
“When you own your own businesses, you can get away with things like that,” says Kenny, the owner of a family sheet metal and heating enterprise in Thunder Bay. “My dad, Herb, tells us to go whenever we can to watch the boys. He stays home and watches the business.”
I ask Kenny how much he and Rhonda have spent on seeing their boys play hockey. Kenny doesn’t hesitate, letting me know how much it cost for Austin to play hockey on the Triple A level. The cost just to be on the team was $9,500. They paid that amount in each of Austin’s four seasons at that level. That cost doesn’t include the bucks Kenny and Rhonda shelled out for motels, gas, food, etc.
Kenny does some quick math and figures the couple has spent $200,000 on their sons’ hockey pursuits.
Good thing he and Rhonda own businesses. “Having a heating business where we live is a good thing,” Kenny says, smiling.
“You don’t spend it all at once,” he explains. “You spend it here and there over the course of several years.”
He and I agree: There are worse things on which you can spend your dough.
This, he says, is what a diehard Canadian hockey family does. Kenny’s brother, Rick Adduono, was a second round draft pick by the Boston Bruins in 1972. Rick, who also worked for the family business, now coaches hockey in Germany. Father Herb was a hockey official for years.
Kenny and Rhonda? They’re a hockey dad and mom, intent on logging as many miles and memories as possible.
“We do hockey tryouts all summer and then spend the winter doing hockey (games). This is what we do,” he says.
Kenny remembers when he and Rhonda made arrangements at work (she probably did a double shift at her salon) back in early September when the Musketeers started this season with exhibition games in New York and New Jersey. Austin didn’t know his folks would be there. They made it there in time for the opener of his final go-around in junior hockey.
Thunder Bay to Hackensack, N.J.: 1,429 miles.
“I came down and Austin saw me through the glass,” Kenny says, sharing another smile. “Seeing your son’s reaction when you show up at a game makes all the driving worth it.”
In a word: Priceless.