Josephine Laughlin isn’t your typical 94-year-old grandmother. After all, how many 94-year-olds respond within minutes of getting a direct message on Twitter?
With that in mind, you can imagine the conversation I had with Craig Laughlin’s spunky mother this afternoon when she returned my call from her home in Waterloo, Ontario, where she lives with her daughter, Kelly.
“I know you want to talk about the greatest guy that ever was, and that’s Craig,” Josephine Laughlin said, fully aware of the celebration taking place tonight in honor of her son’s 25th season as Capitals analyst.
“Whatever he does turns out,” said Josephine, who prefers to be called Jo. “He’s always been good to me. He babysat for me. I never had to pay for a babysitter. He’d come home from school and he’d babysit his younger sisters. He never gave me any trouble or lied to me. You can’t make something bad out of something good, like Craig was.”
Laughlin, now 58 , is the third of Jo and Thomas Laughlin’s five children – Sharon, Larry, Craig, Kelly and Gina. He grew up playing hockey on the backyard rink his father built and turned that passion for the sport into an eight-year NHL career and a 26-year career as a broadcaster.
But to Jo Laughlin, Craig is still the likeable, reliable bespectacled young boy she remembers.
“He wore glasses when he was seven and we didn’t live too far from the park,” Jo Laughlin said. “He would run to the park and he’d play with the other kids. He’d always want to hurry home by 4 o’clock because he promised he’d be home for dinner. But he would forget about his glasses and run all the way back to the park to get them.”
Even now, Craig Laughlin’s younger sister, Kelly, says her older brother is their mother’s favorite child.
“Any time he walks in the door, he’ll yell, ‘The favorite child is home!’' Kelly said. "He’s got great spirit. He’s a marvel. It’s unfortunate we couldn’t get down to help him celebrate but we’re there in spirit.
“But I have a feeling that with Craig, celebrations are a daily event.”
Jo Laughlin says she watches Capitals games whenever she can and her favorite player is Alex Ovechkin.
“Everybody is an Ovechkin fan, eh?” she said. “I call him Vechki.”
Jo Laughlin says she’s proud of her son’s milestone, saying he’s always spoken highly of Washington and the Capitals.
“He loves it there,” she said. “He’s always been a very easy-going person. I guess that’s why his mom loves him so much.”
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