Friday, 3 May 2013

In the Nic of Time: Chapter One — Tears in the stands

There would come a time, I kept telling myself, when I would write the incredible story I saw unfold on the morning of March 3. I just didn’t when that time would surface.When I looked at the calendar and realized this marks the two-month mark of since it happened, I knew it was time.Winter had a solid bite on Edmonton March 3 — a Sunday. Our family gathered for an early morning hockey game at Kenilworth Arena to watch our grandson Nicholas play. 
Number  seven. Centre. Goal scorer. On the way to Kenilworth Arena — an old community barn, oozing with character nestled in southeast Edmonton — Nicholas told his father Darren he was going to score a goal that day for his mom. We had some concerns if Nic would even play that morning. But when he went to bed the night before and tucked his hockey stick and puck under his blanket, we knew he would be in the line-up.
It could have been easy for Nic not to play. Understandable, too: on March 2 his mother passed  away after a six-year cancer battle. Nic, 10, was at her hospital side when she died.
He said he wanted to play the very next day.
Nic had many family vmembers in the Kennilworth stands cheering him on.      
Midway through the second period he had the puck in front of the net and picked the right hand corner for his second goal of the game.
Many of us watching had tears in our eyes: it was bittersweet of sadness and jubilation. Nic was so excited when he threw both hockey gloves in the air before taking the following faceoff.
After the game, Nic’s coach Shaye Ganam closed the dressing room door to have a private meeting. Shaye told the team about Nic’s mom.
On his way out of the rink, Shaye stopped and we shook hands. I asked how Nic was.
After our team meeting I asked Nic if he wanted to say anything,” said Shaye, who is a broadcaster for Global TV Edmonton.
Nic got up and said, ‘When you say goodnight to your Mom, give her an extra hug — because I don’t have on anymore.”
Two goals and a profound statement.
It may have been two months ago, but it will remain with me the rest of my days.