Follow Paul on Twitter: @PaulStewart22
This has been an emotional -- but exciting -- week for my family and me. Please indulge me if I brag a little about my two sons, McCauley and Maxwell.
Earlier this this week, older son McCauley attended his first college class. He is attending Harvard Extension School while also reffing Atlantic College and junior games for Geno Binda. The fourth generation of officiating Stewarts is now reffing College Hockey... and maybe someday even the pros.
My younger boy, Max, is off to grade 12. He is attending Stanstead College prep school in Quebec. He reported on Wednesday, had his first day of classes yesterday and the first day of varsity hockey practice is later today. The roster is shaping up to be an intriguing one, too, with a mix of talented young players from Canada, the USA, Finland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. There is also good size with the good skill, as all but four players are 6-feet or taller.
As many of you know, within 24 hours of McCauley being born, I was told by my doctor that I had advanced-stage colon cancer with low statistical odds of survival. Thanks to my outstanding doctors as well as my will to fight, I am still here two decades later to shed some tears of happiness over this monumental week for my family.
People have asked me what motivated me in my battle with cancer and various subsequent health issues. It's simple: being there to see McCauley and then Max grow up, see them blossom as young men. That's my motivation. To see their love of the game that's meant so much and given so much to four generations of the Stewart family has been a constant source of pride and inspiration. I only wish their grandfather and great grandfather were here to share in it but I also know they're watching down from above.
Bonne Chance, McCauley and Maxwell. Just know that I'm proud of you both no matter what. You've earned these opportunities.
A 2018 inductee into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame, Paul Stewart holds the distinction of being the first U.S.-born citizen to make it to the NHL as both a player and referee. On March 15, 2003, he became the first American-born referee to officiate in 1,000 NHL games.
Visit Paul's official websites, YaWannaGo.com and Officiating by Stewart.