his Life

Ice Hockey with Pat

Patrick got to a point in roller hockey that I felt he needed to move up to ice.  He had to many skills and had such a desire to play ice that I did what it took financially to make it happen.  I think his biggest supporter was Kailtyn.  She attended all his games and traveled whenever we had to go away.  He began skating at Medford rink for the inhouse team named the Kings.  They turned out to be pretty a pretty good squad.  Their coach entered them in a tournament at Hollydell rink in S. Jersey.  They won the tournament.Got some great shots of Pat from that tourny hanging in my office at work.  They once had a member of the Phila Phantoms work with them on slap shots, the guy told me Pat's shot was wicked and the way he shot was text book.  That made me proud.  Next stint was with the limited travel Flyers out of Vorhees, NJ.  They were a terrifically tallented team and nearly the entire squad was chosen to play travel A for the Flyers Youth 12 & unders.  This included Pat.  Well this was a boat load to afford and enormous time and commitment for both of us.  But he wanted it so we found the way.  Again, Kaitlyn led his cheering section and always supported Pat even onwhen he had a bad game.  He was having the time of his life until his coach at the time decided that he should be an enforcer center rather than a defenseman which he played his whole life.  Hell, even Jim Watson, formally with the Stanley Cup Champion Flyers of the '70's told me what a natural defenseman he was and to stick with it.  I guess this coach knew better than an All-Star NHL Defenseman.  It destroyed hid season to the point that he benched Pat for the hits he told him to make.  Patrick had just lost his Poppy days earlier when this guy desided to try and wreck my boys dream of playing hockey.  Pat quit playing for close to 2 years but picked it back up when I moved to Philly with Marion.  Me and Justin would go get Pat out in Jersey twice a week and bring him to NE Philly for practice.  Every Saturday or Sunday we all would go to his games to root him on.  He was again on top of his game as a defenseman.  His 14 & under squad won the Flyers limited travel championship that season and there were more than a few memorable moments that we always look back on an enjoy the memories that we all shared.  Fights where he dropped 2 kids from Pennsauken for boarding him and he called out their entire team including their coach who tried to egg him on.  That led to a 3 game suspension for him and Pennsaukens coach.  Marion almost got him tossed out for saying Pat should have kicked all their asses!  Me and Ken went up in the stands because the other parents were insulting Pat.  I tried to hop a 4 ft wall and couldn't do it, still get laughed at today for that from all the kids.  Then there was Atlantic City where these kids were clobbering our kids and taking runs at them with no calls.  Pat caught their best player skating with the puck through center ice with his head down and did a Scott Stevenson on Eric Lindros.  He flattened this hit like a truck hit him.  All hell broke loose and spilled into the dressing rooms.  Game was call and we got the hell out of AC.  Ironically they beat AC to win the title and they did it on Pennsaukens rink.  The best part of the playoff run was they beat Vorhees 14 & under squad to reach the title match.  That team was the team Pat was with as 12 & under that he left because of the coach.  They had a new coach, but he was with the team also at that time.  He went right up with his son that Pat had played with and they congradulated him and were proud of the way he came back after what had happened before.  That was Class.

Me & Pat on our own

After my divorce I bought a small house acrossed the lake so I could be close to my kids.  Patrick moved in with me because he didn't want me to be alone.  He was always thinking of everyone else.  We had so many great times there.  I remember after we 1st moved in, we didn't even have a stove.  All we had was a microwave and a George Foreman grill.  We were sitting in front of the sliding glass door that lead to the back yard and had a cup of hot chocolate while we watched the snow falling quietly in the darkness.  Just the 2 of us sharing dreams and hopes with eachother.  Later that night we took a walk with Benjamin (Pat's dog).  Pat brought along his remote control car and we were riding it around in the snow.  That was such a magical night, just the 2 of us guys hanging out and enjoying being father & son.  There are so many moments that I will share as I slowly walk down memory lane with Patrick.  Treasures that will forever reside in my mind, my heart & my soul.

Patrick Learns to Skate

Patrick had always been kind of a clumsy child.  Every dinner he would spill over his drink.  He wasn't the most graceful person when it came to bumping into things and tripping over his own feet.  I remember when he 1st began riding a bike.  He crashed into everything that didn't get out of his way.  Telephone poles, parked cars, people.  If it was in his path and didn't move he was going to hit it.  Needless to say his bike took quite a beating.  But something really weird happened when he got a pair of skates for Christmas.  He had style.  He was graceful.  He was not clumsy at all.  He was a natural born skater.  He was barely 6 years old and could skate better than he could walk.  Needless to say he took that talent to much higher levels with his hockey career later on by becoming an outstanding defenseman in both Roller hockey & Ice hockey.  He was one of the pioneer children involved in bringing hockey to Pemberton Township, NJ by helping to construct a roller hockey rink which has since been dispanded after Pats group moved on from rec hockey.  Patrick went on to play ice with the Medford Kings and Both the Vorhees and NE Phila Flyers youth organizations as a Pee-Wee and Bantom.  He also Played for the Flyers Youth Pee-Wee "A" squad.  Patrick was a natural defenseman whos backward skating ability along with his sense of knowing his position made him as solid a defenseman as you'll find.  He graced Ice arenas' throughout the State of New Jersey and the Eastern part of Pennsylvania for several years.  He was invited to play for the Philadelphia Blazers Bantom squad who played out of Bristol,Pa but we were unable to finance such an adventure at that time.  I will forever see in my mind and my dreams that smooth skating little boy who could do the most poetic cross-overs and flow from backwards to forwards without so much as a hickup.  To me he will always be my own personal "Miracle on Ice".

Elementary School Days


Pat was a good kid in school.  He loved going to Yardville Elementary where he and Kaitlyn both went.  It was nice because they could go together each morning and the 2 of them took good care of each other all the time.  They both had the same set of friends, even though Katie wasn't to happy about it at 1st.  Patrick always wanted to hang out with Katie and her friends, always tagging along.  After a short time Katie just accepted that Pat was coming along where ever she went and that was that.  They were inseperable and knowbody could pick on Katie's baby brother. 

One day Patrick's kindergarden teacher (Mrs. Shields) told me she was doing nursery rymes in class.  !st she would start the nursery ryme and the kids would have to finish it.  Well, sure enough Pat got picked to finish one.  It was "There was an old woman who lived in a shoe, she had so many children..."  Pat finished it by saying " She moved out!".  Class clown already at age 5.  What was I to do?  Mrs. Shields and I just laughed about it and knew that this child had a special knack for making people laugh and have fun. 

I'll always cherrish that memory for from that day on Patrick has always been that 1 person who can just walk into a room full of people and say something or do something or just simply make a funny face and make evrything that was bothering you just go away.  He had the gift of joy that spread from his heart to yours'.  Anyone who knew Patrick will agree that he could just warm your heart just by being there with you.

Running Away From Home

There are actually 2 great stories about when Patrick ran away from home. 

The 1st one is when he was probably 4 or 5 and he was just so tired of following the rules that he was going out on his own.  He was running away and knowone would find him.  That's what he thought.  Here he was walking slowly down the sidewalk with a waste paper basket over his head.  Kaitlyn and I saw him walking by so Katie went over to him and said "What are you doing with a gabage can over your head?"  Pat answered "I'm running away and knowbody can see me under here!"

The 2nd one is when Patrick and Kaitlyn  decided to run away.  They camped out in there little fort that was attached to there swing set.  They were in it for the long hall.  They had pillows, blankets, toys, stuffed animals.  They forgot 1 thing, food.  Needless to say the protest ended at dinner time when dinner was ready. 

Patrick's 1st Pet

We had just moved to Yardville from Trenton.  We brought our dog Kane with us of course.  She was a beautiful German Sheppard-Doberman mix.  Kane for the most part was Michael's dog.  That dog would follow him everywhere.  Soon after Katie wanted a pet.  Feeling that she deserved it we took her out and she picked out a Guinea Pig that she named Weet-Weet.  Corny, I know but that was the sound that it made all the time.  Well soon after that you know that Pat wanted a pet of his own.  We felt that he wasn't old enough or responsible enough for one so the answer was no.  That didn't stop Pat, he took the matter into his own hands.  One morning I see Pat playing and talking to something in the dining room.  I went to see what he was doing.  He had a big night crawler and a pile of dirt on the floor.  I was like "What are you doing with that in here!"  Pat just looked up at me with a big smile on his face and said "It's my new pet Wormy Dad, can I keep him?"  We all just busted up laughing and made the decision to let him get a real pet.  The next weekend we bought him a Holland Lop Bunny that he named Benjermin.  Yes, I spelled it correctly, BenJERmin.  From then on Patrick has always had a love for animals and always would try to take in strays, abandoned and abused cats & dogs.  This was the soft, loving, caring side of Pat that we all came to know and love so much.  He had a heart of gold.

Pre-school Patrick

 Pat was a quiet little baby in his 1st year.  He would sit there in his little corner of the the couch and just watch as I would give horsey rides to Michael and Kaitlyn.  Then he'd laugh when I would dump them off my back onto the couch.  He just really took in all that was around him. 

There are so many funny stories.  Once when we lived in Trenton, at a really young age, I forget exactly, around 2 or 3, I had just came of the graveyard shift and was really tired.  I went upstairs to get changed and somehow dozed off.  I woke to the sound of someone knocking at my door.  It was my neighbor telling me me that Katie and Pat were in the ally playing.  I rushed out there and sure as heck there they were riding there trikes in the ally in there pajamas. 

Then there was this 1 Christmas when we lived in Yardville, I took Pat sledding at the neighborhood hill by the baseball fields.  It was the 1st time he had ever been sledding before.  He had just got a new saucer for Christmas.  Well that didn't last long.  After a few times down the hill with me on there with him he was ready to solo.  He started out great except he never turned and went straight down the hill into a telephone poll.  Cracked the saucer but not him.  I raced down the hill and he was laughing his head off.  I knew right there this kid's a daredevil.

That was the tip of the iceberg with He and I with sledding.  The next winter Mike, Katie, Pat and Myself went to Veterans' Park in Hamilton to sled.  We had a blast for hours.  Then Pat and I decided we're going to make 1 last ride together on the sled.  We started hitting the big bumps down the hill and the whole sled just disintegrated underneath us.  I took the brunt of that thank God but we all laughed like crazy after I could get up.

It wasn't all winter fun we had.  We would play football in the yard, go for walks to the lake.  In fact, that reminds me of a typical Patrick moment.  I took all 3 kids to Gropps Lake to fish.  It was Katie and Pat's 1st time.  Pat hooked a fish!  Did he do what I told him and reel it in?  Nope, he grabbed the rod and pulled it all the up into the parking lot until the fish came out of the water.


In the Beginning


 Born on the evening of February 27th, 1990, Patrick Daniel Dembrowski entered this world without so much as a cry.  What we didn't know is that he wasn't breathing.  They quickly wisked him away to the otherside of the delivery room as I wondered why this wasn't the same way that his sister Kaitlyn was just over a year ago when she was born.  I began to get worried and asked why I couldn't see my child.  Finally I heard him cry and saw the relief on the faces of the doctor and nurses.  "You have a baby boy".  WOW, my son was born.  My heir to whatever I may pass along to him as my father had to me.  He was the first born Dembrowski boy of this new generation to carry on a name that was only created as a misspelling of the sir name Dombrowski when my father entered the navy in WW11.  It was sort of our own special name that Patrick now assured that it would live on after me.  I could not have been a happier man.  I was rich beyond riches with my new little son.  I had a little baby boy that I could call my own.  I couldn't wait for the joys that would come to both of us, heck all of us as we grew together.