As our organization grows, so does Henrik Fenerty.
This summer we’ll be celebrating four years of being in Tucson and next month Henrik will celebrate three trips around the sun.
Time can sure go by quickly, however, for Henrik’s parents, Brendan and Janna, Season Seat Members in Section 208, they’re quite alright with their son spending his youngest years at Tucson Arena because in turn, that for them, means valuable family time together.
The young couple, who relocated to the Grand Canyon State in 2015 to allow Brendan to work towards achieving his PhD at the University of Arizona, had both been hockey fans prior to their arrival in the southern United States. Brendan, raised in New Brunswick, Canada and Janna, born to Canadian parents and having a brother that played hockey growing up, now have a pair of young hockey fans themselves. Along with Henrik the family includes five-month-old Nevaeh, who the two welcomed to the world back in October, just one day after the team’s 2019-20 season opener.
For their first year of their residency in Tucson, the two would make the trek up to Glendale to get their hockey fix, viewing the two-hour drive up the I-10 as a treat in comparison to the near nine-hours of driving distance that stood between Brendan’s home province and the nearest National Hockey League club, the Montréal Canadiens, whom he grew up cheering for.
Then, over the next 18 months, the convenience got even easier for the Fenerty family.
“On a whim, we went to our first Roadrunners game and as I saw the players coming toward the ice and I saw the names “Strome” and “Crouse” I said to Janna, “these guys played for Canada’s World Junior team.” I had no idea that they were in the Coyotes pipeline and that’s when it hit me like, “Okay, this is the real deal. These guys are superstars back home and now they’re here in Tucson, they’re right in my backyard.”
Having then learned that season that one night the players they’d see in Tucson would next be in the national spotlight, the two gained an understanding that there was much more appeal to making their way downtown to the campus of the Tucson Convention Center than just the play on the ice.
With Brendan continuing to work toward his PhD and often traveling for research and projects out-of-state and out-of-country alike, accompanied by Janna working full-time, the two began to learn that as hard they worked, they needed to find a balance for themselves and their blossoming family.
“We realized that if we weren’t careful we could easily get caught in the grind, working away,” Brendan remarked. “We didn’t want our kids to grow up before we knew it. We decided that we needed to make a conscious effort to safeguard family time and fortunately, for us, the kids seem to like hockey.”
While baby Nevaeh will have to be told of the memories she’s created in her first months with the team, it’s safe to say that Henrik’s love for the game is only developing and he’s having the time of his life doing so.
Quite the recognizable figure at games, often sporting his helmet featuring a Coyotes decal and his hockey stick, gifted by Roadrunners Head Equipment Manager Eric Bechtol, the eldest Fenerty child can always be spotted with one of his parents, ushering them around Tucson Arena, as they like to jokingly say.
“We have our traditions of going down to get his high-fives from the players, every time the guys come on or off the ice, he’s right there,” said Janna. Brendan then echoed the sentiment, saying, “We take every minute we can with it. We get there early so he can watch the guys warmup and we stay until we can’t, just trying to let him soak every minute in.”
Safe to say he seems to be doing just that.
And as long as that continues to happen, it seems Brendan, Janna, Henrik and Nevaeh will all be a part of us.
“Being a part of the Tucson Roadrunners family is great because it allows us an escape from the 8-5 and it is also, guaranteed, set aside family time. It’s something that we value first and foremost above entertainment at the game, above participating in all of the events. It’s knowing that when we look at the calendar we can take a step back, take a deep breath and say “alright, next week there’s a home stand, there’s two guaranteed nights of family time and we’re going to be at the arena.”