Perspective came in the way of a 13-year-old boy.
The Canucks dropped a 3-2 decision to the Senators in Ottawa Thursday in the fourth game of this seven-game trip and afterwards, the dressing room was predictably melancholy.
The last person you would have expected to hear laughter from was coach Willie Desjardins. Yet there it was, as unforeseen as the Grinch hearing the Whos sing after being fleeced, a jovial Desjardins.
The Canucks brought a special guest to the dressing room post-game, namely Jonathan Ladouceur, a grade 8 student from Cornwall, Ontario, and coach provided a warm welcome.
With a blue Canucks hat covering hockey hair players were envious of, in an old school Canucks jersey, with an Alex Burrows t-shirt underneath, Jonathan met a handful of players, who each signed his jersey and posed for a photo. Radim Vrbata personalized a stick for him, while the Sedins gave him a hard time for not playing hockey himself.
Ben Hutton’s smile was large and in charge in his return to Ottawa, but it was nothing to that of Jonathan.
“This is as happy as I’ve seen him in a long time,” said his step-mom Stephanie Larochelle, fighting back tears. “It’s nice to see him on cloud nine getting his mind off the stress of everything.”
This past September 2nd, just 71-days ago, Brad Ladouceur, Jonathan’s father and Stephanie’s fiancé, died suddenly of a ruptured aorta. Jonathan played soccer that night and upon the family returning home, Brad collapsed and within 30 seconds was gone.
Sometimes life isn’t fair and this is a prime example.
Brad, 38, was a stay-at-home dad and with Jonathan’s mother not in the picture, the pair was inseparable. They’d do everything together, including watching hockey games; Jonathan loves the Canucks, Brad the LA Kings and just to really muddy the waters, Stephanie is a Montreal Canadiens fan.
“It made for some interesting Saturday nights,” laughed Stephanie.
According to the Cornwall Seaway News, a local bus company approached Jonathan’s school, Cornwall Collegiate, with the idea of sending the deserving youngster to the game.
When the Senators caught wind of everything, they invited Jonathan to morning skate Thursday and moved his seats to right beside the Canucks tunnel for the game. The Canucks then took it one step further, treating Jonathan like family post-game.
Jonathan didn’t say much in front of his favourite players, but his wide-eyes made it clear this was a special treat.
In reality, it’s the least the team could do for a fan who will never watch a game with his best friend again.
“There are no words to explain how it is,” said Stephanie. “It was so unexpected. A ruptured aorta is nothing you think is ever going to happen; we’ve just learned to take it one day at a time and focus on the positives, not the negatives of what he’s missing.”
Was today a good day?
“It was a great day,” smiled Jonathan.
One minute Henrik Sedin was standing in front of me, taking his share of the blame for the Canucks not making life hard enough on the Senators in losing another one-goal game. The next minute he had his arm around Jonathan, cracking jokes as part of an interaction the boy will never forget.
Moments like that make me proud to not only be part of the Canucks organization, but to have the Canucks representing BC.
True gentlemen, all class.
Thanks for reading – without you there’s no blog!
Practice day in Toronto Friday, so I’ll check in sometime Saturday.