Cyclone Taylor Cup 2016 - A Different Perspective

Friday, April 15, 2016

The following is a letter submitted by Murray McGregor. Murray was assigned to the Storm as our team ambassador during the CTC in Victoria, April 6-10. This unedited, first hand account of interaction with the team can only leave any member of the Storm, be it player, coach or staff, beaming with pride at the positive impact these players left on one individual. As a reader and supporter of the Storm, it will do your heart good. 

** It should be noted that we thought Murray was a "beauty" and represented the tournament in top fashion.

 To the Players, Parents, Fans, and Team Sponsors of the Campbell River Storm:

With the completion of the 2015/2016 Cyclone Taylor Cup another hockey season is behind us.
Congratulations to the 100 Mile House Wranglers, Campbell River Storm, Mission City Outlaws and the Victoria Cougars.

As part of CTC, I was asked to be an Ambassador for your Campbell River Storm. From the outset I was not sure what this involved but I can only tell you that if you are ever asked, you should not pass up this opportunity. It brings the game into a clearer perspective, especially bringing home why we all attend, support and volunteer. I had but a heartbeat of exposure to the Storm prior to this assignment but my wounds of seeing my own son’s team get shellacked by the Storm in the early 2000’s were still somewhere in the back of my mind. Even wounds on an old dog take a while to heal. Mark my words years from now science will discover that hockey is something that is embedded in every Canadians DNA.

Moving on and getting to my point.

So from April 6 – 10, I was sometimes the leading edge of the front, and sometimes the trailing edge of the Storm. Those five days passed pretty quickly. Being an outsider I tried to lift their spirits at the restaurant coming off the bus after that first loss “keep your heads up boys and reload”.

Further to this, I can’t put into words how hard it is to see young men tear up in the hallway after a tough loss or witness the walking wounded patched up but still ready to go.  I thought to myself….”Just try to take them out of the line-up”.

Fast forward.

Upon the completion of the Bronze Medal game prior to the medal presentation, the shout out to me initiated by you was pretty special let me tell you. After addressing the team, Coach Lee invited me into the Storm Dressing Room. Those in sports know that is an honor not to be understated.  I was addressed in front of the team and exalted does not begin to describe how I felt. When I was given a chance to speak I want you to know I told the boys that they didn’t need to hear it from me, but they were going to hear it anyways.  And, as parents, fans and sponsors I want you to hear it as well. I attended every venue with the team, from the check in at the hotel, to the banquet, to the dressing room/ medical triage set up and all their pre and post-game meals. (At first I think they thought I was a spy !!!). This is what I relayed to the boys. “Everyone I had contact with behind the scenes from Hotel Management, to Chefs, to Servers and Bussers, to Arena Staff commented on your courteous, considerate, respectful and polite manners”.  I went on to tell them that “your parents in the stands are proud of you, parents that couldn’t attend are proud of you, the fans, Owners, Management, Coaches, Support Staff, Sponsors and even Bussy  (Glenn) are proud of you. And for what it was worth to you, I am proud of you as well”.

Just for the record fellas you had me on Wednesday night when we first met.  I accompanied you to the arena and each and every one of you came up to me, introduced yourselves, shook my hand and thanked me.

Getting back to what brought us together. On the ice they conducted themselves courageously, with pride and respect. They probably deserved a better fate but as we all know the Hockey Gods are sometimes a fickle lot. They might not have been champions on the ice this year but they are champions off the ice. These are young men and I witnessed some of the life lessons they have been taught that will hold them in good standing long after the game. 

We parted ways the same way we started our brief association and that was with a handshake. (and a good joke, but…..what gets said in the dressing room stays in the dressing room).

For those young men moving on in hockey or coming back, good luck in your hockey endeavours. For those of you moving on to other ventures in life, my sincere best wishes. 

I’ve rambled a bit but in closing I would just like you all to know I’d be proud to call any one of these boys my son and there is no greater compliment I can bestow upon them.

Looking forward to attending a Storm game next year and reacquainting.

Yours respectfully,
Murray McGregor
Victoria Cougars Volunteer
Team Ambassador for the Campbell River Storm