PORTAGE — Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who Sen. John McCain has chosen as his vice presidential running mate, has Portage ties.
Her son Track lived with the Holmes family and attended Portage Central High School for several months of his senior year in 2006.
“He was with us to play AAA Hockey on the same team as our son, Dan,” said Dave Holmes, 52. “It’s a very competitive level of hockey. By the time the boys get there, they’ve typically all been playing since they were about 5 years old.”
Holmes said Track had played previously for the Alaska All-Stars but that he was attracted to the Midwest because it is a hotbed for exposure to scouts for college hockey teams. So he came to Michigan to play for a Twin Star Ice Arena team, then known as nXi Hockey and is now called S2 Hockey.
“He needed a host family and we were happy to do it,” Holmes said. “Sarah was running for governor when Track came to us in September of 2006, and she got elected that November.”
During the season, the Holmes family and the Palin family developed a long-distance bond.
“The moms talked on the phone quite a bit about the boys,” Holmes said, explaining how the Alaska governor got updates on her son’s progress from his wife, Janine, 51. The two families also spent much time together at a four-day hockey tournament in Dallas during the course of the 2006-07 hockey season.
“He was an exceptional young man with a very nice family,” Holmes said. “The boys got along well. Track lived here until hockey season ended in March of 2007, and then he went home to graduate from his own school in Wasilla.”
And although the sons have gone their separate ways since high school graduation — with Track entering the U.S. Army and Dan beginning classes this week as a freshman at Michigan State University — Dave Holmes and Palin’s husband, Todd, remain in friendly contact.
“I’ve kept in contact with Todd off and on since then,” Holmes said. “We last talked on the phone in June.”
Janine Holmes said she was surprised about this week’s announcement.
“We knew she was in the running but thought it was a long shot,” she said. “We were surprised and excited for their family.”