The frozen ponds of Canada are where many kids first lace up skates and establish NHL dreams.
When the season turns and the ice briefly melts, hockey can take a bit of a back seat to summer pleasures. But only for a short while.
During summers, Hilary and Dale Dach would take their three kids -- including oldest son Kirby, whom the Blackhawks drafted with the No. 3 pick last week -- to a lake near their home outside Edmonton for some splashing around.
It didn't matter. Hockey was never far from Kirby's mind.
"I'd say, 'Go grab what toys you want to take down to the water,' " Hilary said Monday after a news conference at the United Center. "And he grabs a hockey stick. He floats around with a hockey stick. That was him. Everything was about hockey."
Kirby Dach has the face of a boy, the body of a man and a mother amazed at a journey that over the weekend took her family to Vancouver to watch Kirby become a Hawk.
Nobody in the Dach family -- including Hilary, Dale and siblings Colton and Callie -- had been to Chicago before arriving Sunday in advance of Kirby's introductory news conference. It won't be their last visit.
"It's been an amazing experience," Hilary said. "Anytime a parent gets to watch their child's dreams come true, it's very humbling. I just want the best for all my kids. Right now it's about Kirby and seeing him so happy, and to be part of such a monumental organization, I just can't ask for anything better."
Hawks general manager Stan Bowman feels the same way. Dach is the type of player who wasn't attainable before the Hawks moved up from No. 12 in the draft lottery.
For those who preferred defenseman Bowen Byram or forward Alex Turcotte, know this: You might end up being right.