How does a kid born on Hilton Head Island end up on ice skates scoring a goal in the Stanley Cup playoffs?
For winger Ryan Hartman, it happened Saturday afternoon as his Nashville Predators took control of the first-round series against the Colorado Avalanche.
Ryan's mother was watching it on her cell phone at The Quarterdeck in Harbour Town during the RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing. Seems that no one there wanted to see hockey on TV.
But that goal had deep Hilton Head roots.
Kim Baldus Hartman spent all her summers here as a child, and made sure her boys Ryan and Tanner did the same.
She and Craig Hartman were married at Holy Family Catholic Church on Pope Avenue, and had their ice hockey baby at Hilton Head Hospital on Sept. 20, 1994.
Ryan is a third-generation islander. Kim's parents vacationed on Hilton Head. As a kid, she bobbed along to the tunes of Gregg Russell, before they built that big stage for him beneath the Liberty Oak in Harbour Town.
Then her parents — Woodward "Woody" and Kathleen Baldus — moved here full-time in 1985. Her dad was president and CEO of the Fortune 500 Terex Corp. He commuted by plane, until he bought an office at WatersEdge and worked from here.
Kim grew up to become a University of South Carolina Gamecock, where she met a Chicago boy on soccer scholarship.
On their honeymoon, they heard that her father had been diagnosed with cancer. He died eight weeks later. He had been building his dream home on the ocean in Sea Pines. Kim and Craig came home to be with her mother.
Craig sold insurance and Kim's friend Tom Reilley hired her at his south-end bar and grill. He became a father figure for her. She also did some hostess work at the Palmetto Bay Sunrise Cafe.
Craig spent a year helping coach the Hilton Head Island High School boys' soccer team, and he coached a club team.
But he missed the ice hockey of home. He and Gary Bruno organized pickup roller hockey games in the parking lot of Daddy Zack's restaurant, now a public parking lot at Coligny Circle.
When Ryan was 2, his family moved to the Chicago area. When he was 4, he was ice skating. Kim laid down the law that they'd go North for the winter, but all summers would be spent on Hilton Head. And there would be no hockey in the summer.
As a kid, Ryan would help Justice Adelman mate for charter boat captain Tommy Bronsky on the Shadow out of South Beach Marina. It was his first job. He still tells a jarring Hilton Head shark story. And he still loves to fish. And Adelman has his own boat, Reel Justice Charters.
Ryan also loves to golf, but nothing takes the place of hockey.
He was a hockey phenom. He won international gold medals twice with U.S. Olympics developmental teams. He passed up a full ride to Miami of Ohio to go pro.
At 18, he was drafted in the first round by the Chicago Blackhawks.
It was a dream come true. Ryan's kindergarten teacher had made a little book with the children telling in it what they wanted to do when they grew up. Ryan had a picture of himself in a Blackhawks uniform.
Realizing that dream wasn't easy.
"Hockey is a lifestyle," Kim said. "It involves a lot of travel."
Basically, they worked their whole lives around giving Ryan every chance to see that dream come true.
It involved Kim moving with Ryan and his brother to Michigan when he was invited to play on the Olympics developmental teams.
The day she got there, she got a call. Her mammogram had shown some trouble. It was a test she almost canceled due to the move. A week later, she knew she had breast cancer. She had a double mastectomy and reconstructive surgery, and she's been cancer-free for eight years.
"In hindsight, we can see that it was a blessing that I was there with Ryan because he could see me every day and know that I was OK and not have to worry about it," she said.
In February, Ryan got traded to the Nashville Predators. It's much closer to his mother's family in Birmingham, Ala. They had the best record in the National Hockey League this year. It was the first team he scored a hat trick against, and now one he's scored more than one game-winning goal for — and that playoff goal.
On the ice, the quiet kid becomes an aggressive terror, with ice under his blades and Lowcountry saltwater in his veins.
"His heart is on Hilton Head," Kim said. "He wants to someday buy his grandfather's dream home."