Dan Girardi was walking through the airport recently with his family when someone pointed his way and exclaimed, "Look! I saw him on (HBO's) 24/7!".
Girardi, an All-Star professional athlete playing in one of the biggest cities of the world, has grown accustomed to being recognized from time-to-time in public. However this time was a bit different.
"The guy was talking about Landon," Girardi laughed, speaking of his young son who found himself featured in segemnts of the HBO documentary this past December. "I had to say, 'Wait! I was in that show, too!"
Such is the life of being a father, even a high-profile personality of a father. Your child comes first. And Dan Girardi would not have it any other way.
"Everything that he does comes first now, everything centers around him, and that's the way it should be," said Girardi on the eve of a second Fathers Day he will spend with his family in Ontario. "It's neat to see where he started as a little baby to where he's like a little man now. And for me now there is more to play for. It used to be for myself, my teammates, my wife. But now there is more on the line (for me) because I am playing for him, too."
On a relatively young Rangers team in 2011-12, Girardi was one of seven fathers---joining Martin Biron, Mike Rupp, John Mitchell, Ruslan Fedotenko, Anton Stralman, and newest dad Ryan Callahan---with the wives of two other players---Henrik Lundqvist and Michael Sauer---both expecting their first children.
Biron, who has four children---one boy and three girls---with his wife Anne Marie, follows the lead provided by his father from when he was a boy growing up in Quebec.
"My Dad was involved in everything," explained Biron. "He was the best example growing up of what a father should be. Even though I miss things during the season---Christmas pageants, Halloween parties---I try as much as I can to include them in what I do for a living, especially my little guy Jacob (who has achieved his own mini-fame starring in Biron's Journal). I want them to see it, experience it, and be a part of what I do. It's important to me, and it's important to us as a family."
Girardi explains that his father also set a great example, and should be saluted again this Fathers Day.
"My Dad was always involved, playing hockey in the driveaway with me, coaching me in baseball and hockey, and hopefully I can do that for Landon when he gets older, " said Girardi. "With my Dad, it was about me first, and he didn't really care what the heck else was going on. I am probably trying to take that the most from my Dad and my upbringing."
As for this Fathers Day today, Girardi is expecting a low key day with Landon and his wife Pamela, perhaps a day that features another round of father-son ball hockey outside of their house.
"Landon will sing our goal song after he shoots the ball into the net," said the proud father. "He will also start randomly chanting Let's Go Rangers! It's great!"
Biron is not exactly sure of what his family has up its sleeve for Fathers Day, but with four children in the house, it's a pretty safe bet that there will be some kind of action.
"To me Mothers Day is much more of a celebration because of everything she does," Biron said of his wife. "But I know that the kids have done a bunch of things in school and they are excited for Fathers Day. Little Grace is hiding stuff in her bedroom! I am not allowed to know what's going to happen, but I am looking forward to it!"
To all the fathers reading this, Happy Fathers Day! Please share your Father-Son/Daughter Ranger memories below.
For complete coverage of the team throughout the off-season, follow @thenyrangers and @jimcerny on Twitter.