Each year, seniors at Shattuck-St. Mary’s School deliver a speech to their peers on a topic of their choosing in the Newhall Auditorium. Often equal parts clever and moving, emotional and personal, each speech offers a glimpse into the lives, experiences, struggles, and triumphs of SSM seniors.
Throughout the 2018-19 school year, we will share these speeches with the SSM community and hope that you enjoy the humor, wisdom, and powerful reflections conveyed by our senior students.
My dad was a very loud, supportive person, kind and with lots of integrity. He was very generous, very modest, and overall just a big man with a bigger heart. He was also a huge family man. He liked to say that he won the lottery with his family. He was a huge community supporter in everything, especially to hockey, sponsoring teams and players for tournaments, travel, and gear. He made generous donations to help people out and took no credit for it. He had no regrets and lived life to the max.
Then, on March 3rd, 2018, my father died.
His life made such an impact that, after he passed away, he was nominated for a national award as a Hockey Canada ambassador. There aren’t many Hockey Canada ambassadors, and the people who receive this award have gone beyond anyone’s expectations to help the game of hockey. Along with this award, a youth hockey tournament in Yellowknife Northwest Territories was named after him.
“Keep your head up” were the words that echoed in the rink as my dad cheered me on. He made every single game back home and even came on road trips before I came to Shattuck-St. Mary’s. These words were a message that both my dad and I understood. When I came to Shattuck, it was hard for him to come to games because of distance, so most of time he watched me play on the school website or Hockey TV. He was still my biggest fan no matter what, and he loved it when I came home on breaks and he got to watch me play in person.
We didn’t know that last spring break would be the last time we would be together in this life. While I was on the ice, I didn’t know that would be the last practice he would ever watch me play in, the last meal we would eat together, or even the last time I would say, “Goodnight Dad” before bed.
March 2nd, 2018 was a day like any other. We did the same stuff throughout the day and same things at night and went to sleep as happy as ever with each other. Then the next morning March 3rd ,2018, I was woken up by my sister and a few missed calls from my mom. I’m a very heavy sleeper and never heard any of them. They told me to go to the hospital. Not really knowing anything until I got there, I learned that he had a massive heart attack and was gone. He passed away peacefully and with no pain.
It was time to remember his words: “Keep your head up.”
These words have a deeper meaning than just literally lifting your chin. They can be specifically applied to both life and hockey. “Keep your head up” means to not get down on yourself and always try to have a positive attitude. It also means to play it cool and to just stay level, don’t go too high or too low, just stay in the middle. Playing it cool, be humble, and don’t let yourself get overconfident or cocky. Lastly, “Keep your head up” means to be responsible for your own actions and expect that the best is yet to come. Dad, I want to say that I miss and love you so much. And to my mom and younger sister Regan I want to say I love you lots. We’re going to keep our heads up together in honor of this great man.