ST. LOUIS — Since the birth of Patrick Maroon’s son, Anthony, on Sept. 2, 2008, the two have celebrated Anthony’s birthday together in St. Louis. One year they went to Chuck E. Cheese’s. Another year, it was Incredible Pizza. One time, Patrick took Anthony and all of his friends to Epic 6, an indoor arcade, where they buzzed around playing laser tag.
“I love every birthday,” the elder Maroon says. “But Anthony knew, and I knew, that after his birthday, Daddy was leaving. He cried a lot. I cried a lot. It sucks.” It only got worse as Anthony got older. “Because that’s when he really started to understand,” Maroon says.
Maroon spent summers in St. Louis but packed up each September for training camp while Anthony stayed with his mother back home. Maroon has played in eight cities over that 10-year span. He clawed his way from a sixth-round draft pick with the Philadelphia Flyers to Connor McDavid’s top winger with the Edmonton Oilers. It wasn’t easy. Maroon spent seven seasons in the AHL, making a little over $40,000 per year. He was dismissed from the Flyers’ farm team, sending him into a spiral of shame and self doubt. He almost quit hockey.
When Maroon finally made it to the NHL, he was traded twice in three years. He tried to be the best father he could be, from afar. There were countless FaceTime calls. There were the times Maroon’s father, Philip, would drive Anthony 16 hours just so they could spend a long weekend together. There were the rare times Anthony could see his father play,cheap nhl jerseys
like a December 2016 game when the Oilers visited the Blues. Maroon scored, and in a live television interview afterward, he was asked about Anthony’s reaction in the stands. Maroon could barely get his words out, he was so choked up.
“It’s pretty emotional,” Maroon said, eyes welling. “I don’t get to see him as much.”
For his entire professional career, other people determined where Maroon would play. This past summer, Maroon finally had a choice. He had multiple offers on the table. He could sign in New Jersey, the team he ended the season with. He had other offers too, including one from a Western Conference team that was double the salary he wound up taking, and others that offered multiple years. Finally, he could take a one-year, $1.75 million deal in St. Louis. “For a player like me,” Maroon says, “that’s life-changing money.”
Maroon chose to bet on himself. He also chose Anthony.
“Every father is supposed to want to be with his son,” Blues superstar forward Vladimir Tarasenko said. “I’m happy for Patty because he had this opportunity. It’s his hometown. It’s like John Tavares coming back to his hometown, Toronto. I think it’s unbelievable to play in front of your whole family, friends and people you grew up with. I think it’s pretty special.”