Peter and Jack Friesen celebrating on the ice after the Carolina Hurricanes won the Stanley Cup in 2006. Peter was the teams physiotherapist and a strength coach. (Submitted by Jack Friesen)

Peter Friesen(PgDip'86), a Canadian physiotherapist won a Stanley Cup in 2006 — this year his son helped Denver win the NBA title

A father and son with Saskatchewan roots love to help athletes achieve their goals — and they're really good at it. Both men have helped high-level athletes bring home hardware and win championships.

By Will McLernon · CBC News

Peter Friesen helped the Carolina Hurricanes claim the Stanley Cup in 2006, working with the team as a physiotherapist and strength coach. He was recently inducted into the Sports Hall of Fame in his hometown of Prince Albert, Sask. 

His son Jack, who was born in Saskatoon, is a physiotherapist for the Denver Nuggets. The basketball team won the 2023 NBA championship in June. 

"Seeing my son going on to a career like mine and winning the world championship in basketball, it's a very unique thing," Peter said. 

Jack said hanging out with his dad at the rink and in training rooms inspired him to become a sports physiotherapist.

"I saw the enthusiasm and really the fun he was having at work, and he always preached that if you find what you love you will never work a day in your life," Jack said. "He really showed that this is a great career path." 

Their shared love of supporting athletes has led to a special bond between the two. 

Peter said his son showed a knack for sports medicine at a young age. Peter can't forget when his son helped walk Doug Weight, a centre for the Carolina Hurricanes, off the ice after the player was hit hard during the Stanley Cup finals in 2006. 

His son was still in high school at that time and Peter was the physiotherapist for the team. The Hurricanes went on to win the Stanley Cup. 

Physiotherapy legacy began in Prince Albert

Despite working with a team that won the Stanley Cup, Peter wasn't into hockey growing up. His introduction to the sport came when a position opened up with the Prince Albert Raiders, a junior ice hockey team in the Western Hockey League.

The Friesen's after the Carolina Hurricanes won the Stanley Cup in 2006. Peter, bottom left, was the team's physiotherapist and a strength coach. (Submitted by Peter Friesen)

He won back-to-back national championships with the squad.

"My passion drove me. I loved being around hard-working athletes and in Prince Albert we had the hardest-working athletes," Peter said.

Peter went on to work with several award-winning teams. He helped athletes secure multiple national championships in various sports at the University of Saskatchewan and University of Alberta. He saw five gold medals with Team Canada and Team USA at the International Ice Hockey Federation world championships.

And there was the Stanley Cup.

Inducted into the sports hall of fame

Peter never imagined he would have the opportunity to support such high-achieving teams. He was inducted into the Prince Albert Sports Hall of Fame in May. 

"Working for the Raiders set the standard for what I did for the rest of my career," Pete said. "I was extremely grateful to get that honour. The people I looked up to at the start of my career were there and that was extremely exciting."

Peter still practices physiotherapy and he lectures at several universities in the States. 

He's also watching his son Jack, 32, make his own mark as a sports physiotherapist. 

Like father, like son

In addition to winning an NBA championship with Denver, Jack previously worked for a season with the New England Patriots in the NFL. He also directed long term-rehabilitation at the University of Denver — travelling with the school's men's hockey team to the Frozen Four, which is the NCAA hockey championship.

Jack said one of his career highlights to date was helping Canadian basketball phenom Jamal Murray return to the court after tearing his ACL and missing the 2021-2022 season.

"To see him after we won game five — he was overwhelmed with emotions and I gave him a big hug," Jack said. "You could feel in that hug what this meant to him and that's going to stick out for me." 

What also sticks out in Jack's mind is a moment made possible by his dad. It's of when he was a teen in 2006. The Hurricanes had won the cup and NHLer Andrew Ladd handed him the Stanley Cup on the ice.

Peter also holds onto the memory of seeing his young son get a taste of being part of a team that wins big. 

"Seeing my son hold the Stanley Cup on the ice still brings a lump to my throat, because what kind of parent has that privilege?" Peter said.