Telling us was the easy part. Telling himself was more difficult.
But telling his son? No question, that was the hardest part for Kris Draper, who announced his retirement Tuesday after a 20-year NHL career.
Breaking the news to 9-year-old Kienan, the middle one of Kris and Julie Draper's three children, was "probably one of the toughest things I've had to do in my life," the four-time Stanley Cup winner said, long after he'd plowed through his formal farewell the way he'd powered through so many practices over his career. With energy, some emotion, and frequent water breaks.
"That saved me a few times up here," he said, laughing about trying to avoid the tears that were welling up.
A week ago, there was no saving him as he told his hockey-loving son that, like it or not, his playing days had come to end.