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NHL family says Thunder Bay Christian School provided 'solid foundation'

Written on July 2nd, 2008

[caption id=”attachment_3153” align=”aligncenter” width=”300”]StaalFS The Staal family[/caption]

School reinforced what was taught at home and church, say parents

A family with three of four sons in the National Hockey League (NHL) says the elementary school that both parents and sons attended – Thunder Bay Christian School (TBCS) – “provided them with a solid foundation.”

“We are certain that the foundation laid at TBCS for both parents and children will be a benefit to all of us, especially since our lives are being played out more and more in the public eye,” says father Henry Staal in a letter he wrote for the TBCS newsletter.

The Staals are gaining increasing notoriety as the first family in Canadian hockey since the Sutters, who had six siblings play in the NHL. Eric, Marc and Jordan are now all NHL players with the likelihood that the youngest, Jared, will soon join the ranks. Eric has also been part of a Stanley Cup winning team.

Henry and Linda attended TBCS during the early years of the school. “For both of us, TBCS was a place where we went to and could always count on teachers who not only cared about us, but reinforced what was taught in our homes and churches,” Henry writes.

When their sons reached school age, Henry and Linda say they had no second thoughts about sending them to the Christian school.

“We knew from our experience that they would be getting a Christ-centred education and that the school would provide them with a solid foundation for the rest of their lives,” says Henry.

The parents credit Al Bron, then principal of TBCS, with promoting athletics and giving their sons and all students “opportunities to develop their God-given talents.”

Linda points out that Bron “liked sports himself” and arranged for many intramural activities with local Catholic and public schools. He also supported a great deal of student involvement in a variety of sports, like volleyball and basketball.

“(In keeping) with the Christian school philosophy of developing the whole child I was excited with providing challenges which would enable all students to experience academic, athletic, cultural and spiritual growth,” says Bron, now principal at Patmos College in Sarnia.

“Along with their class-mates and team-mates, the Staal brothers were encouraged to take every opportunity to try and be the best that they could be with their God-given talents.”

Following the 2006 Stanley Cup Playoffs in which Eric’s team, the Carolina Hurricanes, took the victory, the family was able to bring the Cup home and to TBCS. Henry says doing so was a thrill, considering the school had been a place “where sports and especially road hockey games were always an exciting part of going to school.”

TBCS is a member of the Ontario Alliance of Christian Schools, which has more than 70 member schools across the province.