Peter Stecher wrote a letter to his son that he never sent.

Why he didn’t mail the letter doesn’t matter. What is important is that he kept it, so that before the Vancouver Canucks summer camp began last week, Troy Stecher discovered the letter and was able to feel again the love of the dad he lost suddenly four weeks ago, on Father’s Day.

“My brother and I went there to clean out his apartment, and I actually found a letter he wrote in my rookie year but never gave to me,” Stecher, the 26-year-old defenceman, said Saturday. “He was telling me how proud he was that I made the NHL. And how there’s no straight road in this world. There are always going to be bumps and bruises and you just keep going through it. (He wrote) I’ve faced a lot of obstacles already and I’ve overcome a lot, but now is not the time to stop.

“When I found that letter, I definitely broke down. That’s something I’ll hold and probably frame and keep with me the rest of my life.”

It is the final gift of a father who, Troy said, gave him everything.

“He was my first coach and my favourite coach,” Stecher said. “He was my best friend. My dad was always hard on me as a player. He wasn’t an asshole or anything, but my dad expected me to work hard and he wasn’t going to sugar-coat anything. He was going to tell me the way it was, and I’m thankful for that.”

Peter Stecher, who raised his three kids in Richmond, B.C., before settling in Surrey, died suddenly on June 21 from complications of diabetes. He was 65 years old.