Capitals dedicate post-season run to influential individuals in their lives
SUMMERSIDE – It’s a powerful, emotional and rewarding exercise that has become an annual traditional for Billy McGuigan-coached teams.
© Jason Simmonds/Journal Pioneer
Members of the Summerside D. Alex MacDonald Ford Western Capitals display photos of family members they have dedicated the MHL (Maritime Junior Hockey League) post-season to. From left: Riley Whittingham, Brock Richard, Nathan Yetman, Blaize Bridges, Thomas Stavert and Alex Peddle.
Every year, the Summerside D. Alex MacDonald Ford Western Capitals head coach has each player dedicate the MHL (Maritime Junior Hockey League) post-season to a special person.
“The way we’ve done it as a team is you stand up in front of the group and you dedicate your playoffs to someone in your family, a friend or someone in your life who has been inspirational to you or whatever the case may be,” explained McGuigan. “They bring in a piece of that person, whether it’s a picture of them, I’ve seen people bring in watches of their grandfathers and some even write a letter. We take those items and put it in a dedication box.”
This year’s Capitals made dedications earlier this week, and shared them with the Journal Pioneer.
“It’s always been something we’ve done in-house, but getting it out there in the newspaper and publicized is even bigger, because some of the grandparents, parents would never know it was dedicated to them,” said McGuigan. “It’s something I’ve always felt was special, and the kids really like doing it.”
For rough, tumble and macho hockey players, it turns into a very emotional process.
“I’ve seen 20 guys and three or four coaches crying in a room,” noted McGuigan. “Usually, the kids are pretty emotional with it.
“Obviously, these people are pretty important in their lives and maybe they’ve been sick and battled through it. I even get emotional sitting here talking about it. It’s a pretty powerful thing.”
The players never have to look far for reminders of whom they’re playing for.
“During games we have the box in the middle of the room open with all the stuff in it that you can see,” he said. “In those tight games, or those games you are struggling, maybe not playing your best or working your hardest, you come in between periods and walk by that dedication box and remember why you are really playing.”
Western Capitals playoff dedications:
2. Sébastien Cormier, Stratford, P.E.I. – “I dedicate this to my two parents (Donald and Elaine). I wouldn’t be where I am today without them. Also, playing with 21 guys for seven months you develop a strong bond. Every day I come to the rink and work it’s for them.”
3. Jesse Annear, Montague, P.E.I. – “I would like to dedicate this playoff run to my father (Ron Annear), because without his support/advice I don’t know if I ever would have gotten this opportunity.”
4. Joey Colatarci, Fort Myers, Fla. – “I want to dedicate this playoff run to my grandma Mimi. She passed away a couple of months ago, and wanted nothing more in life than to watch me succeed. I know it would make her nothing but happy to watch us win from up above.”
6. Alex McQuaid, Meadowbank, P.E.I. – “I’d like to dedicate this playoff run to my parents (Derrick and Patricia McQuaid). They’re always there when I need them to be, and they would love to watch me win a championship. I want to win this thing more than anything for them.”
9. Brock Richard, Charlottetown, P.E.I. – “I’d like to dedicate this playoff run to my parents Murray and Lori Richard. They are always there for me when I need them, and when times get tough as well. They always took me to the rink when I was younger, and spent a lot of money on me as well.”
10. Alex Peddle, Labrador City, N.L. – “My sister Katie Peddle. She has been through some serious adversity in her life, but has always stayed positive and never let anything hold her back. She is one of the strongest people I’ve ever met, and gives me a constant reminder to keep pushing on.”
11. Morgan MacDonald, Little Pond, P.E.I. – “I would like to dedicate my playoff run to my late grandmother Rose Marie MacDonald, who was taken by cancer way too soon. I would love to have had the chance to play in front of her again.”
“I’ve seen 20 guys and three or four coaches crying in a room. Usually, the kids are pretty emotional with it.” Western Capitals head coach Billy McGuigan
12. Hunter McIntyre, Kilmuir, P.E.I. – “I would dedicate it to both of my grandfathers (Garnie McIntyre and Alden Gordon). This last year has been tough on them dealing with illness, but through it all they still supported me with hockey and battled through it all. Two of the toughest people I know, and there would be nothing they would like to see more than us winning it all this season.”
14. Johnny Larter, Stratford, P.E.I. – “I’d like to dedicate this playoff run to my parents Gary and Roxanne Larter, because of all the things they’ve done for me in the hockey world.”
15. Evan Morrison, Launching, P.E.I. – “I would like to dedicate it to my parents as it’s my last year of junior. They’ve been there since minor hockey, do anything for me and are very supportive.”
16. Thomas Stavert, Kensington, P.E.I. – “I would like to dedicate this year’s playoff run to my father Brian. Growing up, him and my mother Maryse always supported me throughout my hockey career, and provided me with whatever I needed to play the game of hockey.”
18. Blaize Bridges, Summerside, P.E.I. – “I would dedicate this season’s playoff run to both my mom (Patti Woodside) and my dad (Phil Bridges). I couldn’t pick just one, because they have both been my No. 1 supporter and always been there to cheer me on. They have both given a lot to helping me get to the highest level, and without them I wouldn’t be where I am today.”
19. Riley Whittingham, Calgary, Alta. – “I would like to dedicate this playoff run to my parents (Marc and Rondah Whittingham) just for everything they have done for me, and all the support they have given me through hockey.”
22. Samuel LeBlanc, Moncton, N.B. – “I would like to dedicate this playoff run to my grandfather Eugene LeBlanc. He’s a huge hockey fan, and been supporting me since Day 1.”
24. Tanner McCabe, Cornwall, P.E.I. – “I would like to dedicate this series to my grandfather Donnie Higgins. He has been always supporting me through my years of playing hockey.”
27. Mitchell Dempsey, Cambridge, Ont. – “I would like to dedicate this year’s playoff run to my mother (Cathy Sweeney). She has supported me endlessly throughout my hockey career, especially my junior career. My father (Troy Dempsey) is also a very big supporter.”
28. Josh Pugsley, Summerside, P.E.I. – “I would like to dedicate this playoff to my mother Lori McManaman.”
29. Bobby Zinkan, Calgary, Alta. – “I would like to dedicate this playoff run to my parents (Kurt and Judy Zinkan) for all the time and money they put into my hockey career.”
30. Kyle Michalovsky, Kamloops, B.C. – “I would dedicate this year’s playoff run to my dad (Mark) for always being there for me, supporting me through the thick and thin.”
36. Matt Williams, Halifax, N.S. – “I would like to dedicate this year’s playoff run to my parents Chuck and Cathy. I’d like to thank them for their constant support throughout my hockey. They are the reason I am here today.”
79. Nathan Yetman, Mount Pearl, N.L. – “I want to dedicate this year’s playoff run to my grandma Vi Tucker. She was always there for me when I was younger, and she was a role model for me then and always will be. I know today if she was still with us she’d be cheering louder than any other person for me. At the end of the day I know she would be proud of me, and I couldn’t be happier.”