Despite the trade, P.K. Subban's dad will be a Habs fan for life

Karl Subban said he has been a fan of the Montreal Canadiens, the team that gave his son P.K. a shot in the NHL but also traded him away last year, for almost five decades. That kind of devotion, he said, is hard to shake.

But Karl Subban says right now, the Nashville Predators are his team

Nashville Predators P.K. Subban poses for a photo with his father Karl, mother Maria, Governor General David Johnston, and six-year-old Martin during a ceremony at the Montreal Children's Hospital on March 1. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press)

You may not know who Karl Subban is, but you probably recognize the last name. 

The patriarch of the Subban family, he is the father of the young man who made many Montreal Canadiens fans shed serious tears (some figurative, some literal) when he was unceremoniously traded to the Nashville Predators last year.

Beginning Monday, P.K. Subban will realize every hockey player's dream when he hits the ice in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup final. His dad and other family members will be watching from the stands.

Karl Subban was in Bromont, Que., Friday for an education conference and spoke to CBC Montreal Daybreak sports columnist Jessica Rusnak about the trade, the playoffs — and the family's lasting connection to Montreal. 

This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.

On Montreal Canadiens fandom

I've been a fan for 47 years; the day I came to Canada I became a Habs fan.

Montreal Canadiens have been a big part of my life, they also helped to shape my life, so it will be hard to forget about them.

I'm a hockey fan, I'll always be a fan of the Montreal Canadiens, but right now I'm a bigger fan of the Nashville Predators.
P.K. Subban's family, including his parents, were in the audience when Subban announced he would help raise $10 million for the Montreal Children's Hospital. (CBC)

On P.K.'s trade

Well, you know what, I was shocked, I was also surprised, but I also know it's part of the business.

What I have now are the memories, and they're good and they're positive.

The Canadiens gave P.K. an opportunity to live his dream, which he has. Because of the Canadiens, he became a very good hockey player, and he also became a better person and so for that, I will cherish those things for the rest of my life.

On negative reactions to his son

Being P.K.'s dad, I've heard so many things. You know, you just learn to deal with it. I know who my son is: a lot of people don't.

You know what, the guys on TV giving feedback, it's their job. They are doing their job.

I worked as a school leader for close to 30 years, and not every parent, not every staff member, not every student liked my decisions and liked everything I said, so the same applies here. It's just part of the territory.

It's not what happens to you or what people say about you, it's how you deal with what's happening to you and how you feel about yourself.

Those are the important things, and I think P.K. has everything in perspective and nothing anyone says will distract him from his goal — and that is to be the best hockey player he's capable of being and also the very best person he's capable of being.
P.K. Subban and his brothers Jordan and Malcolm, as well as father Karl, a retired school principal, modeled for RW&CO.'s Fall 2015 campaign. (CNW Group/Reitmans (Canada) Limited)

On his upcoming book

The book is coming out in October. [Editor's note: the book is titled How We Did It: the Subban Plan for Success in Hockey, School and Life]. There's a French edition that will be coming out at the same time.

I'll be here in Quebec in the fall promoting the book … because the Montreal Canadiens is a big part of the Team Subban story.

What it's about is how we did it. Because parenting isn't easy, coaching isn't easy, teaching isn't easy, and I've done all those three things, and the book is about that. The big theme in the book is the word potential. What I want everyone to leave with is that potential, we were born with it. And when we develop it, it becomes our gift to the world.

The foreword is our [his and P.K.'s] love letter to Montreal, to Quebec, because, like I said, hockey, the Montreal Canadiens have helped to shape my life and my family's life.

On the Stanley Cup final
Nashville Predators players including defenceman P.K. Subban, right, celebrate with goalie Pekka Rinne, of Finland, left, after winning Game 6 of the Western Conference final against the Anaheim Ducks on May 22. (Mark Humphrey/The Associated Press)

We'll be heading, I believe, to Pittsburgh now that they won for the first two games.

Then we hope to catch all the games, because you just never know when you'll be in this position again or situation again, in the Stanley Cup finals.

We'll be there rooting for P.K. and his Predators teammates and for the city of Nashville.

It's going to be one nice ride. I'm looking forward to it.

With files from CBC Montreal's Daybreak