Coming from the sunshine of Southern California to Canada in mid-winter isn't everyone's idea of a great family vacation, but for Brenda and Tom Meyer, it was a nice way to reunite after a few months apart. They got a chance to see their son play three games over the weekend as he played against Hawkesbury, Pembroke and Cumberland in a five day span.
On Friday night, the team didn't fare too well, losing 5-0. On Sunday, his parents drove up to Pembroke where his CCHL experience all began. At the start of the year, he played for the powerhouse national champion Lumber Kings before being traded to Gloucester at the trading deadline.
"I didn't get as much playing time there," he admits. "It's a lot better in Gloucester. I want to play college after this." A few years ago, that wasn't part of the plans.
"Travis started roller at 10 years old and on ice at 15," explains his father Tom. "He's got more skill because you learn more puckhandling on rollerskates, but he needs to be more aggressive up here; the game is a lot different."
Indeed, despite the usual long distance separating him from his family, his parents are well aware of his exploits in the Central League where he got a hat trick against Cumberland a few weeks ago. They can follow his progress on Central Live which broadcasts all the games online. "His teammates can't believe he's only been playing for five years," says his mother Brenda. As he came out of the dressing room after the team's 9-1 loss to Pembroke, she quickly let him know of her disapproval of his fight. Having played on the Lumber Kings, he knew his opponent quite well and they are friends. "The fight was a show," admits his father.
Even though hockey might not be as prevalent in California as it is here, Travis is the third of four brothers who played hockey in youth, but the first to come up North to do so. "It's interesting how American scouts come to Canada to find players, even American players, to go play college hockey in the United States," comments his dad. "Still, people think you can't have hockey teams in California, but there are three in the National Hockey League. And there seems to be a movement of Southern California kids playing too."
As one of them, Meyer is leading the way, paving a new path and perhaps encouraging others to follow him. "We miss him a lot," admits his mother. "His friends miss him. It's bittersweet but it's got value. And he's got our support." Though this is only the family's second visit of the year, spending a week together for Family Day makes the time together all the more special.