Chris Duchene has been a hockey mom for 28 years and counting.

Speaking from Dallas, Texas – the day after watching her son, Matt, and his team, clinch their first-round series over the Las Vegas Golden Knights – Duchene said, “oh my gosh, it was unbelievable. DAWN LAURIE HEATHER

“With about 10 minutes to go, we were up by one, and I thought ‘I don’t know if I can make it’. I just want it to be over’,” she said of the tension in the third period of the game seven decider.

She recalled how Marg Nicholls, the mother of Bernie Nicholls, would attend the Coby Islanders’ tournament at the end of the year to watch her boys play “and when it was a close game, she would go and hide in the bathroom. She couldn’t watch it.”

On May 5, Duchene joked she was like Marg – whom she considers to be one of the best hockey moms in Haliburton County. “I was close to pulling a Marg and going into the bathroom.”

Dallas won the game 2-1 and the series four games to three.

She and husband, Vince Duchene, were staying in Dallas for the Stars two home games against the Colorado Avalanche May 7 and 9. She said after knocking off last year’s champs, she felt the Stars were now hoping to go on to compete for Lord Stanley’s Cup.

Chris usually tries to stay under the radar. She was in Dallas for the Star’s mom’s trip the week of Feb. 12 and did appear on ESPN with Matt.

While she is pleased Matt and his team have made it into the second round of the playoffs, she said “as a mom, you are proud, but your touchstone all the time is just ‘is he happy’? That’s always been the number one concern.”

She noted her son had been playing hockey since the age of five and is now 33.

“I can probably count on one hand the number of times I’ve missed him play.” That has included late nights when he played in Colorado and its later time zone.

“You just kind of feel like you’re trying to be supportive even though he is a grown man with a family. He has a wife. He doesn’t so much need mom any more. But you feel like you need to be there, should he ever need to reach out, or should he want you all of a sudden.”

Chris said Matt has great support from his wife, Ashley, and other people in his life, too. He is also the father of three children himself.

“We’re there for him when he needs us. He does lean on us. I think he was super happy we were here for (gave seven),” Chris said.

Matt says he gets a lot of strength from his mom. “I think I’ve gotten my drive to succeed and passion for what I do directly from my mom.”

He added, “she’s always there when I need her to be, and need to talk. She’s a great role model for me in her day-today life and how she handles herself. I love her a lot and I’ve always had a good relationship with her.”