This year, for the first time, the Pickard family will not be together during the Christmas holidays.
And while it will be an adjustment, the opportunity with Hockey Canada's Program of Excellence for 19-year
old Chet and 16-year old Calvin is well worth the sacrifice.
Both will play key roles as goaltenders for their respective teams – Chet for Canada’s National Junior
Team at the 2009 IIHF World Junior Championship in Ottawa, ON and Calvin for Team West at the 2009 World
Under -17 Hockey Challenge in Port Alberni, BC.
“It’s been a goal for both boys,” says Dan Pickard, the proud father, of the brothers making their respective
teams. “Obviously not being together for the holidays will be different, but it’s worth it.”
Despite 4,627 kilometres between them, the brothers won’t be far from each other’s thoughts as they embark
on the most important hockey experience of their lives.
With mom Kathy heading to Vancouver Island with Calvin and Dan and sister Kelly off to the nation’s
capital to cheer on Chet, telephone calls, texting, television and the internet will play key roles in
keeping the family connected.
“We usually call after every game anyways,” says Chet, “so it won’t be that different.”
With both brothers playing key roles for their Western Hockey League teams – Chet plays in Tri-City, while
Calvin is in Seattle – selection to their respective teams wasn’t much of a surprise for the other
“The way he has played over the last year gave him a lot of confidence going into the selection camp,”
says Calvin of Chet. Likewise, Chet knew that is younger brother had a great chance to play at the U17
tournament, something the elder Pickard never did.
“It has been the tale of two different situations,” says Dan. “Chet has taken a slightly longer road,
while Calvin has really jumped at the opportunity presented to him this year.”
After not making Team West for the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, Chet spent two years backing up 2007
World Junior hero Carey Price in Tri-City before grabbing the number one job last year, leading the Americans
to the conference final and claiming the WHL and CHL goaltender of the year awards.
Meanwhile, Calvin has excelled in his rookie year with the Thunderbirds, taking the top job from incumbent
Jacob DeSerres. The younger Pickard has benefitted from his older brother's experience, seeing and learning
about the necessary mental and physical preparation and understanding the expectations and managing the
pressure of the Program of Excellence.
While the brothers have long been there for each other, the support they’re getting from other sources
Friends and family in Winnipeg, Hockey Manitoba, Hockey Canada – they’ve all been very supportive,” says
Add the backing of thousands of ravenous Canadian hockey fans across the country to this support system
and Chet and Calvin Pickard should both be able to draw a lot of confidence during their quest for gold
medals this Christmas.