“He was always up for mischief for sure, he was always trying to get away with things,” Lindsay Montador describes her brother Steve’s demeanour while in high school. The comment paradoxically prefaces his sister’s celebration of Steve’s quest for knowledge and compulsion to help others later in our conversation.
Lindsay, the middle sibling of the Montador trio was close with her brother throughout their adolescence and his NHL career.
“We were really close we were only seventeen months apart. He was away at junior hockey when we moved to Peterborough and when the hockey season would end he joined me at high school in Lakefield.” The family moved from Mississauga to the Kawarthas before their final year of high school.
Steve’s sister revealed what it was like having him return to student and home life upon post-OHL season, “Lakefield and Peterborough were always huge hockey towns so it was you know kind of cool,” correcting herself, “actually very cool in joining us [at school] they had seen him play hockey because he played against the Petes and we would always attend games.”
Their familial bond sustained the test of distance as he bopped from North Bay to Erie finally coming home to Peterborough in his overage year while in junior then during his time in the NHL.
During the 2004-2005 NHL lockout Steve played hockey in France, while Lindsay taught English in South Korea. The pair met in Thailand for Christmas, a timeline that consequently aligned with the Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami on December 26.
“We woke up that morning and the waves were really high and the water level was really high but we didn’t feel the actual tsunami because we were in the Gulf,” explained Lindsay.
“We learned from CNN while at the internet cafe and from people at our hostel of what was going on. He [Steve] was instantly like we need to email mom and dad to let them know we are ok. You know it didn’t dawn on me that we were in any immediate danger.”
The two sought out the island Koh Samui -an island that was least affected by the storm- with the intention of attending the Full Moon Party on Boxing Day, a decision that ultimately kept them safe.
Beyond setting out on international adventures and working as a professional athlete, Steve committed himself to off-ice development as he transitioned to and throughout adulthood, “He cared a lot about personal growth. He learned that we all learn from personal struggles, he did a lot of reading,” explained Lindsay.
Little did the average fan know he was working towards a degree while playing in the NHL, “He would be hitting the books when he was on an airplane. He did a lot of self help reads: The Power of Now, was a big one for him.” The novel documents Eckhart Tolle’s message of living in the presence and its path to deep happiness.
Lindsay summarized by stating, “He cared deeply about bettering himself. He learned that the better he take care of himself and helped others to better themselves as well.”
In his pursuit to be smarter, more kind and compassionate came the desire to do more, “There was always the next thing he wanted to work towards and it was pretty incredible to be witness to that because he earned it. I was so proud of him.”
Its evident when speaking with Lindsay, the profound impact Steve made in her life as a sibling. Outside the Pete alumnus’ typical description being a hard worker, gregarious and on-ice talent, his sister understood his ultimate passion which was to learn so that he could better help.