A week of sunshine and warm temperatures awaits us. I can hardly wait to see the buds and blossoms and fresh greenery on campus once again. Not since 2019 have our students been able to enjoy a full spring term and all it has to offer. This includes our Cadet Ball being held tonight!
Canadian hockey legend Guy LaFleur’s funeral was this week. Stories about his life, on and off the ice, are being shared. It is clear that he touched many lives and represents a glorious time not just for Canadians in hockey, but les Canadiens as well. Growing up in Montreal in the 1970s as I did, he was a childhood hero.
KES has its hockey stories about Guy LaFleur. Two in particular. The first is rather funny and takes us back a few years to when Guy was looking for a school for his son. He called our School to enquire about the application process. Because our Director of Admissions, Chris Strickey, was travelling at the time, Guy’s phone call was directed to our Assistant Headmaster at the time, Darcy Walsh. Darcy was (and is) a hockey guy. He not only played at a high level but is a true fan of the sport. The call went well with a promise that the Director of Admissions would call Mr. LaFleur. Now, Darcy is (and was) a trickster. His pranks are legendary on campus. Chris Strickey, on the other hand, is a true hockey fan and one of the finest hockey coaches anywhere. He is serious about the game. He saw Darcy’s note and Guy LaFleur’s phone number but assumed that Darcy was, once again, pulling his leg. Alas, Guy LaFleur never received a return phone call from the School.
The second story about Guy LaFleur and KES is more recent. In 2016, Guy LaFleur came to Windsor for the Long Pond Heritage Classic. Before the big hockey banquet held on campus, Belinda and I hosted a VIP reception at our house, Alexandra Hall. That year we had a full house. Among others, hockey legends Ric Nattress and Rich Sutter were in attendance. Local business owners and politicians and hockey fans filled our home. Sharpies and memorabilia to be autographed were everywhere. I don’t know if it was a bit overwhelming or just too crowded for him, but I found Guy LaFleur in our kitchen. He was sitting on the floor petting our two little dogs. They loved him. For about half an hour Guy and I chatted about dogs and about life. He had a little dog who, when he was home, was his constant companion and slept with him every night. He was enjoying being with my dogs, away from the hubbub.
Later that night, after the banquet, I returned home and walked around my living room. There were some stray glasses and cocktail napkins to clean up. On the mantel were a half dozen photos of Guy LaFleur in his younger days. They were there for autographing. For a brief moment I had a pang of regret: I should have got him to sign one! And then I thought no…I have a memory of him which is much more precious.