Whether it's Mr. Hockey or your favourite BCHL star, an autograph can really mean a lot to a young hockey fan. I want to first of all say thanks to the Smoke Eaters who joined us at Ferraro Foods for the Miracle Marathon on Saturday. Sam Mellor, Travis. St. Denis, Matt Wilkins, Justin Brown and Ben Matthews helped us secure a big pile of donations for the Salvation Army in Trail. Mountain FM was doing the same thing in Rossland, Castlegar, Nelson and Grand Forks. Thanks to everyone who helped out and donated.
When we told our Salvation Army rep that Matthews was coming she instantly made a call. Big Ben happens to be her granddaughter's favourite Smoke Eater. Apparently she's quite the loud and proud fan during the games. However, when she got there you could tell she was nervous. I asked her why Matthews was her favourite, but she couldn't really explain it. You could tell he was though because she turned down a chance to go get some candy in order to wait for him to get there.
Ben and Justin arrived and she hid behind her grandmother with a shy smile on her face as I introduced them. I'm not sure Ben has ever met someone who specifically identified herself as a fan of his so it was a pretty cool little moment. The big Alaskan who can be mean and fierce on the ice as a little nervous himself! She raced up to him and then backed off before he said hi and signed the autograph for her. She also asked and received the same thing from Justin Brown. You could see a smile a mile wide on her face as she left.
That's what it's all about.
Can you tell me these kids don't deserve your support? They come to events, they read with kids and are great reps for the community on the road. I hope we see some big crowds this weekend in some key games for Trail on Friday night against Nanaimo and Saturday against Victoria. This is a classy group of young men who are really on the cusp of finding their stride. Even though there have and will continue to be growing pains, one can't help but be proud to be associated with the club in a small way.