I have some very sad news to share with you today. A report from National Hockey League insider Chris Johnston appears to indicate that veteran Columbus Blue Jackets forward Patrik Laine has been dealt a terrible blow. Johnston reports that Harri Laine, Patrik's father, has passed away.
Losing your father is never easy but for someone like Patrik it may prove to be especially difficult. Not only were Patrik and Harri close to one another, but Patrik has often credited his father for his career in the sport of professional hockey. In many interviews in the past Patrik has recounted how, even before he was 4 years old, his father had begun to introduce him to the sport that he now makes a career in.
The Columbus Blue Jackets have released a statement following the news, asking for privacy for both Patrik and the Laine family as a whole:
The Columbus Blue Jackets extend our deepest condolences to Patrik Laine and his family on the passing of his father, Harri. The family thanks everyone for their support and for understanding their need for privacy during this time.
Laine has been out of the Blue Jackets lineup since earlier this month after he suffered an oblique strain during a Blue Jackets win over the Colorado Avalanche in Denver. That injury is expected to keep him out 4 to 6 weeks and that may prove to be something of a blessing in disguise for the young man given the news he has now received.
I certainly am not happy that Laine is dealing with an injury on top of the emotional distress of losing his father, but the fact that he already has a built in reason to be away from the game for a little while as he processes this horrible situation is probably good for his long term mental health.
My thoughts and condolences go out to Patrik and the entire Laine family, as well as to all of Harri's friends and anyone who loved him in life.