There was rampant speculation after a rough season for young Coyotes star defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson that perhaps he wasn't happy with his situation in Arizona, but in reality the burden on the shoulders of Larsson was much worse than that.
This week Ekman-Larsson opened up about his mother's 10-year-long battle with cancer, as well as her passing late this season. Larsson told Coyotes insider Craig Morgan that he knew she didn't have long when he visited her in January of this year, and that made being away from her all that much more difficult.
“I basically said goodbye,” Ekman-Larsson said as per Arizona Sports . “It was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.”
Losing a parent is a hard thing for anyone to overcome, and for Ekman-Larsson it also meant losing his biggest fan, as well as what sounds like was a major influence on where he is today.
“I don’t think she ever missed a game,” Ekman-Larsson said. “Even if she wasn’t there, she was at home, watching it on her computer.”
“She got me skating when I was a kid and when I didn’t like it at first, she kept pushing me. She and my dad were at all the games, and she was the reason I played for Leksands Idrottsförening for two years. I was going to play for another team but she wanted me to look at that team, and I’m happy I did.”
That being said, Larsson has already found the silver-lining to this story, taking comfort in the fact that his mother is no longer suffering, and after a 10-year-long battle with such a horrible disease his thought process is perfectly reasonable.
“To be honest, it was kind of nice to have an end to it because she had been in so much pain,” he said. “You don’t want to see anybody suffering that much. She was such a strong person so at the funeral I was trying to remember everything we did together; all the good parts.
While fans may not have been happy with his latest season, they are likely to be far more considerate with their criticism under the circumstances, at least we hope so.