For new father Ville Husso mornings with Emmi have become the best start to the day
The Detroit Red Wings goalie discusses fatherhood and how it's changed his perspectives.
Ville Husso has always been a morning person, now he has some company.
Husso will typically get up around 6 am with his newborn daughter, Emmi, who was born on Nov. 13. He’ll let his wife, Hayley, sleep for a couple hours, while father and daughter will watch highlights from NHL games the night before.
“I feel like I’m more aware of everything in life, and I’m coming to the rink and I feel more energy in practice actually,” Husso said. “It’s nothing too crazy, I’m still feeling good and getting a good amount of sleep, but that time with her has become the best start to my day.”
While an NHL career comes with its advantages, and wealth, it isn’t the easiest thing to juggle as a new parent. Even with extra help and family around, there’s no equivalency to actual time with the newborn. NHL travel can be glamorous, but it can come at a cost.
For Husso, it meant having to miss the actual birth of his daughter.
The Red Wings were flying to Sweden for the NHL Global Series on Nov. 12, he was on the flight when Hayley texted him that she felt the baby was coming soon. The Red Wings practiced right away when they landed in Sweden, and Husso informed the team he needed a flight home.
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A couple hours later, Husso got the call that Hayley’s water had broke.
Detroit scheduled a flight for Husso the next morning, he was on his way to the airport in a cab at 3:30 am in Stockholm. Emmi was born around the same time, he was able to meet his daughter for the first time over FaceTime before boarding an eight-hour flight back to Detroit.
“We had one of our friends here and we hired a doula, her parents actually just missed the birth by like an hour or two, they were flying in from New Jersey,” Husso said. “It was a quick and long flight at the same time back for me. I went right to the hospital when I got home and finally got to see her.”
It’s terribly cliched, and you’ll hear this from most people with children, but nothing prepares you for being a parent for the first time. Even with all the prep and organization, emotionally, it’s one of the most amazing, incredible and scary things all at once.
“You try to prepare and then it happens and you don’t know what to do,” Husso said. “I was crying and laughing… I guess it’s just the best thing that’s ever happened, that’s the best way to say it.”
Ville and Hayley met when he was a St. Louis Blues prospect playing for the San Antonio Rampage, she was working at SeaWorld at the time. With an American-Finnish child, Husso said they went with a name that translated well for both sides of the family.
“Emmi works really well for both sides, there are some Finnish names I would have liked, that would have been very odd for her family, and there are some American names that would have been odd for Finland,” Husso said. “Emmi was perfect for both.”
Husso’s first priority the past two weeks have been as a dad and his husband, he’s thankful the Red Wings made that possible and allowed him to leave the the team in Sweden.
It’s also helped re-focus the goalie on what’s important in life, and coincidence or causation, Husso’s two best games this season have been played since he returned to the team after Emmi was born.
“Right now I’m most interesting in figuring out which cry means what,” Husso said. “It could mean they are tired, it could mean they pooped.”
And crying, once you’re a parent can represent one of the most wonderful things.
“The first thing I remember from that FaceTime is hearing the baby cry, it was one of those things, there was nothing like that the first time,” Husso said. “I missed that in person, but it all happened so fast, and I made sure to get home as quick as possible to be there and do as much as I can each day.”