Monday, May 22, 2017

HOCKEY REUNION AND HONOURING AN OLD FRIEND

            I woke up on the 1st of May and immediately breathed a sigh of relief as I took my first glances out of the window to make sure that the ground was only wet and not covered in a foot or two of snow. Remember the massive dump of ’11 and then a repeat in ’13? Yuck! What a way to start the month of May.
            We needed a nice soaking rain to wash the ugly off of the last vestiges of winter and get some things greening up. That we could use. What we didn’t need was another snow on the cawing crows. That can wait until those irritating bloody things are heading back down south next fall.
            Snow or no snow the golf course is opening up and baseball has begun. In other words…spring has sprung! Now all we need is some temperatures over the +10C mark and we’d be laughing.
            Even though the outdoor spring sports activities are underway good old hockey is not too far away from any Canadian sports fan’s mind. Right now we are into the second round of the NHL Playoffs and Major Junior Hockey’s Regina Pats are the Eastern Conference Champions and they’re headed to the Western Hockey League Finals with the hopes of winning the Memorial Cup-the holiest of junior hockey’s holy grails.
            Named for the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, the WHL’s Pats are the Canadian Hockey League’s oldest franchise beginning operations in 1917, and celebrating their 100th anniversary next season.  The club has competed in a record 12 Memorial Cup Championship games including the inaugural final back in 1919 before winning major junior hockey’s prize three times in 1925, 1930, and 1974. The Regina Pats will be hosting the Memorial Cup in 2018 their Centennial Season.
Sticking with the hockey and memorial theme I had mentioned a few columns ago that some old Kipling Royals and Pipestone Beaver alumni wanted to reunite to share some old hockey war stories later this year. Initially I had announced the date as the 17th of June but the event will be held on the 10th of June.
This event will be open to anyone and everyone. Anybody who has had any experience with organized sports teams know that just having players doesn’t necessarily make a “team”. Coaches, managers, training staff, permission from spouses, (if required), and moral support from a fan base are necessary for the success of any team so whenever there is a reunion it should be all-inclusive and this one is.
I had also mentioned that one of the main pushes to get this event going was the too-soon passing of Brian Gallagher last June. Brian played on both of these teams and his old teammates wanted to provide a memorial for him.
Brian was a great goalie and an even better person. Brian really loved hockey but I would have to say that his love of the land and farming even surpassed his love of hockey. Brian didn’t have a great tolerance for formal schooling but he was a well-educated man. He loved reading and learning and his knowledge of history, politics and science, to name a few, was astounding.  
When it was suggested, by Mark Toppings, Brian’s friend and teammate on both the Pipestone Beavers and the Kipling Royals, that the best way to memorialize Brian was to start an Agriculture School Scholarship Fund  it was the perfect fit. Decision made.
 Circle the date. There will be a fun golf game at Kingswood Golf Course followed by a supper and social at the good ol’ Kipling Arena. It will be a great time for a great cause.
“Memories of our lives, of our works and our deeds will continue in others.”-Rosa Parks, (1913-2005).


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