Thursday Tidbits

Posted on April 12, 2018 under Thursday Tidbits with no comments yet

 

Humboldt.

You have to have lived in Western Canada to understand the culture of hockey. Yes, curling is huge and many of Canada’s greatest curling dynasties were born and bred on the Prairies. But hockey is deeply ingrained in the psyche, especially junior hockey where many a farm boy threw hay bales in the summer as part of their dry land training. Junior hockey in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba is a religion. The Holy Grail is having a chance to make it big and land a coveted position with an NHL team. Riding buses is a rite of passage and part of paying your hockey dues.

I played a bit of hockey in my time including high school, Junior B and Senior Hockey, the latter in Northern Alberta during my teaching days. And I can attest to the near religious fervor of hockey. Of all the things that helped me be accepted in a small farming community, making the local senior hockey squad made me feel like a local celebrity. If you played for the Fairview Elks, you were somebody. Most of our home games were on Friday nights and one would be hard pressed to find a seat in the Fairview arena.

Our league was spread over vast swaths of the landscape like the juniors but most of our road trips were under four hours and we traveled by car. I know what it is like to drive several hours, play a game, have a beer or two, pack sweaty equipment into the trunk of the car and arrive back home well after midnight. And winter in the North Peace Country was always bitterly cold. Temperatures of -20 to -40 were not uncommon. Frozen hockey gear would stand on end when removed from the trunk of the car to dry out at home.

The recent devastating tragedy in Humboldt is almost impossible to digest such is the magnitude of the loss. Fifteen members of the Bronco’s hockey squad lost their lives in the blink of an eye last week and the dreams of youth were shattered. No amount of thoughts and prayers or messages of condolence can possibly ease the pain and suffering of the families of the deceased or the fractured bodies of those who survived.

One thing I do know is that prairie people are incredibly resilient and determined. They will mourn for a very long time. They will suffer the loss but you can be certain that the community and the country at large will wrap their arms around those who grieve and the sun will rise again over the wheat fields.

Humbled.

I was much honored to attend the recent Volunteer Week Awards ceremony in Halifax. I was chosen by the Town of Antigonish as their volunteer of the year. When I was first informed a few months ago, I was a bit startled. There are so many people in our community who have given an entire life of service that I felt just a bit awkward accepting this honor. When it comes down to it, I expect every other nominee from around the province feels the same way. It is the quiet foot soldiers who toil anonymously who really deserve the credit.

And, of course, for a married couple, these awards are merited equally. It isn’t possible for both parents to be out serving on boards and coaching minor sports at the same time. The gift of time given by one’s spouse to pursue volunteer work should be recognized.

It certainly is by me.

Thanks so much for all the kind words, e-mails and private messages.

Have a great week.

 

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