GREEN BAY (WLUK) - With family ties to Waupaca, that is where Brian Rafalski and his family settled into retirement after an illustrious professional hockey career that spanned over a decade. Now his two sons Matthew & Daniel are both playing different roles in Green Bay Gamblers resurgent season. Fox11's Cody Krupp has the story.
"We got excited, we're like this is it, this is our year together," Daniel said.
"Pushes me everyday, like even at home make's sure I am eating good, I think he is a big part of what I have done," Matthew said of his brother.
Matthew Rafalski is a promising and he's been a productive first year defenseman.
"Always like a dream of mine. I played Jr. Gamblers growing up and just coming to the games and seeing the whole atmosphere of the crowd, just what I wanted to do," Matthew said.
While his older brother Daniel took a bit of a different route.
"I never really put my heart into hockey. I'm the strength coach for the Green Bay Gamblers," Daniel said.
A little different from which the hockey playing life style the two grew up in.
"Whatever they wanted to pursue I have always told them do what you love, if you love it that's great I don't care," Brian Rafalski said.
Their father Brian you can call a legend in the sport of hockey. He was an All-American at Wisconsin, 3x Stanley Cup champion, also twice a silver Olympic medalist.
"That's something I have always struggled with my whole life has been my dad, people would say you're only here because of your dad, so growing up I always felt like I didn't earn my time so really coming here you have to earn it and think that's really helped me," Matthew said.
"You just want them to do the best they can, I am a big believer in merit base so they have earned where they are at so that's good, I don't want to be pulling strings for them, if you get it and you don't deserve it than it's not really worth it right?" Brian said.
There was no better person to teach Matthew the X's and O's of the sport and a work ethic for Daniel to emulate.
"Always just watched a bunch of his games growing up, and it was just really cool to see my dad doing a lot of stuff, and just makes me want to get to that too, just like what I want to be he's my role model," Matthew said.
"Kind of hard living up to that standard, but as I have gotten older I have kind of appreciated how hard he's worked and it's a matter of effort, like it would be one thing if I wasn't putting all the work in and I looked up to my dad, like dang I could never get there but that's why I need to work even harder," Daniel said.
The 11 season NHL veteran said this is the first time since he retired in 2011 that he is not coaching. That was the case for 18 years previous of Matthew's life, now he just gets to sit back and watch, maybe make a few comments after the game.
"My dad did the same for me he drove from Detroit to Madison when I was playing there, never missed a weekend," Brian said.
When you hear good job after the game that has to mean the world?
"Yea it definitely does its a good feeling when he says good job, good game," Matthew said with a smile.
Gamblers Schedule: https://gamblershockey.com/schedule/