One of the many joys of being a grandfather is to take time to be with grandchildren. While I dearly love my children, there is something extra special when it comes to grandchildren…and mere words don’t fully express what I feel about them
Friday night was the first time that I had taken my youngest two grandsons, ages 4 and 6 to a Heat Hockey game. When I arrived to pick them up, I could see the excitement on their faces. I immediately knew that this was going to be one of those locations that the three of us will not soon forget. Their first words were, “Grandpa, Grandpa, look at the sign we made”. “Go Heat Go” had been written with a felt pen on a piece of cardboard cut from a box.
As we walked into the AESC complex, there was Ryan Walter, President of the Abbotsford Heat, mingling with the crowd, greeting everyone and posing for photographs with anyone who asked. Of course, we asked that a picture be taken with Ryan, to which he graciously agreed. Ryan even took off his Stanley Cup ring and let my youngest grandson hold it for the picture. I’m not sure that he fully understood that there are very few people who have ever held a Stanley Cup ring in their hands, but that understanding will come soon enough. For now, the pictures will go into their albums to be cherished along with other memorable events they will enjoy. Even before the game began, the younger of my two grandsons became an instant hit with the lady sitting directly behind us and developed a friendship that I’m sure will be continued the next time we go.
The third period of the game was exciting and it was great to see the Abbotsford Heat win 2 – 1 in a shoot out, ending the Milwaukee Admirals new season undefeated streak.
I admit that I had one disappointment. Despite a great evening of entertainment and good hockey, there were only 2,200 fans out on a Friday night. Abbotsford has a great hockey team and the new president, Ryan Walter, brings an added dimension of enthusiasm, energy and cooperation to the Hockey team. I fully understand the controversy surrounding the AESC and the $1.3 operating deficit of the team. But we made a commitment to this team, rightly or wrongly. We now owe it to Ryan and the team to show our community support, the kind of enthusiastic backing that this City is known for. The Abbotsford Heat are trying everything they can to be part of our community. They are not asking for our charity, just our support of great local hockey. Not only is it great hockey, but many of the players you will be able to see it seems will end up in the NHL, some may even be playing for the Canucks.
The Abbotsford Heat are now an important part of our community. They have committed to being contributors to our City, helping in the schools, minor hockey, and many other ways. Do yourself a favor. The next time the Abbotsford Heat are in town, take in the game. Take your children or grandchildren, nieces or nephews. Take your whole family. It’s affordable, local and enjoyable.