His son scored the game-winning goal that sent the Winnipeg Jets to the golf course and his team to the Stanley Cup final.
Now Winnipegger Willard Reaves hopes to see the NHL's ultimate prize in the hands of his son, Ryan, who scored the goal that would ultimately be the game winner for the Las Vegas Golden Knights Sunday.
"I would love to see my son … and [Winnipegger and fellow Knight] Cody Eakin, like to see them bring it back here to Winnipeg, just to let the guys, let the people know how it feels to win one," said Willard, who still lives in Winnipeg.
"Maybe the Jets, they came up short this time, but … I think that the people should be a part of it regardless of if our team was in it or not."
Team members who win the Stanley Cup are allowed to bring the trophy for a visit to their hometowns after their victory.
Willard said he, Ryan's mother and several of Ryan's best friends were at Bell MTS Place to watch the Golden Knights defeat the Winnipeg Jets 3-2 Sunday, ending the Western Conference final and sending the expansion team Knights into an improbable Stanley Cup final.
"It was great 'cause we had some Golden Knight fans around us to sit next to us," said Willard, adding they were sitting in the 300 section and had a great view.
"We were surrounded by Jets fans, but it was good. We had a great time."
When asked how it felt to watch his son score the winning goal, Willard laughed.
"It was perhaps one of the most exhilarating things I've ever really looked at," said Willard.
"To have my son there, playing against his hometown team … propelling this new team to get into the Stanley Cup, that he scored was unbelievable. It was such a rush."
Willard, who is a former running back for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and won a Grey Cup with the team in 1984, said he wasn't disappointed when his son chose hockey over football.
"You know what, I didn't push my son one way or another," he said. "Ryan decided to leave football and concentrate on hockey, and look at the results."
The Knights will face off against the Washington Capitals or the Tampa Bay Lightning in the final. The Lightning currently lead their series 3-2 and could clinch the Eastern Conference final Monday night. Game time is 7 p.m. CT.