PeeWees back in Canada after Montreal booing

Discussion in 'Canada' started by Said1, Mar 25, 2004.

  1. Said1
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    Said1 VIP Member

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    Fredericton wins over hockey players Big welcome erases Montreal memories

    RICHARD FOOT CanWest News Service


    Thursday, March 25, 2004

    John Reilly, a Massachusetts state trooper, is not a man accustomed to
    crying.

    Yet Reilly shed tears of joy when he and a dozen other hockey parents, plus a team of 12-year-old U.S. boys riding a bus north from Boston,
    arrived in New Brunswick on Tuesday to a welcome fit for royalty: Three hundred young Canadian hockey players lined the main street of St. Stephen, N.B., tapping their sticks on the pavement and chanting "U.S.A., U.S.A.," as the bus rolled into Canada.

    "All these kids in hockey uniforms, from little tykes to teenagers,
    cheering us into their town - it was unbelievable," Reilly said
    yesterday. "Everybody on the bus was in shock, and many of us
    were in tears."

    So began the closing chapter to an extraordinary, cross-border
    hockey saga that started a year ago in Montreal on the volatile
    opening week of the Iraq War.

    Reilly, his son John, and the rest of the Brockton Boxers - a
    pee-wee team from Brockton, Mass., a working-class suburb of
    Boston - arrived by bus in Montreal last March Break for a much-anticipated week of happy revelry in the hockey mecca of
    North America.

    U.S. bombs had recently started falling on Iraq, and as the
    Brockton players and their chaperones were unloading their luggage
    outside a Montreal hotel, they were caught in the midst of a large
    anti-war protest. Their "Coach USA" bus, emblazoned with a Stars
    and Stripes logo, caught the attention of the protesters who
    swarmed past the terrified American kids, cursing and yelling at
    them, and hammering on the side of their bus.

    The next day at an NHL game in the Bell Centre, the Brockton
    Boxers heard Montreal fans boo the U.S. anthem and heckle their
    presence at the game. The group left the arena in the second
    period and drove back to the U.S., where some parents and players
    vowed never to return to Canada.

    Word of the group's ugly experience reached the media in Brockton
    and soon made headlines across North America.

    Brian Johnson, a hockey parent in Fredericton, was so upset at the
    events he started mulling ways to make it up to the Brockton
    players.

    In January, he went to Brockton to invite the Boxers to New
    Brunswick for a friendly tournament. Johnson was nervous about
    has since mushroomed into a $60,000 teenage hockey
    extravaganza complete with celebrity guests, gala dinners and the
    Stanley Cup.

    The fun started last week, when New Brunswick Premier Bernard
    Lord travelled to the Massachusetts State House in Boston to
    personally hand out glossy invitations for the trip, plus personalized
    track suits, to each of the Boxers who had come under fire in
    Montreal.

    On Tuesday, the Boxers and their families - 50 Americans plus a
    U.S. television crew along for the ride - left Brockton bound for
    New Brunswick, a place many of them had never even heard of
    before.

    At the border post in St. Stephen, they were met by two Mounties
    in scarlet tunics and a police cruiser that escorted them through
    the cheering throng on main street to a reception at the town's
    information centre, where a giant welcome cake was devoured.

    In Fredericton, where Canada's university hockey championships
    are underway, the Boxers are now lodged at the same hotel as the
    visiting varsity teams, but the pee-wee players are by far the
    bigger attraction.

    "Everybody we bump into here knows our story and wants to say
    hello to us," Reilly said.

    Yesterday at the 4,000-seat Aitken Centre, the Brockton players
    and a Fredericton pee-wee team were mixed together for the main
    event - the Friendship game - each player wearing a specially
    designed hockey sweater with the Canadian and U.S. Olympic
    hockey logos stitched together, and the flag of each nation on the
    shoulders.

    Hundreds of Fredericton minor hockey players were pulled from
    school to watch the game, which was opened by an RCMP honour
    guard and hockey legend Senator Frank Mahovalich.

    The Brockton and Fredericton players will also find time tomorrow to
    play another game on a frozen pond at a nearby golf course - the
    first time the American teenagers will ever skate outdoors. They'll
    actually be playing for the Stanley Cup, which will sit beside the
    pond, awaiting a winner.

    "Our young people here are walking on air," said Brockton Mayor
    Jack Yunnits from Fredericton yesterday.

    "They're having a ball," added Johnson, the event's chair-person.
    "It doesn't matter whether you believe in the Iraq war or not, these
    kids didn't have anything to do with it. So on behalf of the country,
    we're apologizing to them, trying to repaint their picture of
    Canada."

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  2. jon_forward
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    jon_forward Active Member

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    Great story and thanks for sharing it! The kids involved have learned/experianced something that the will have with them for the rest of their lives. And they will always look to Canada as a friend, :clap:
     
  3. _dmp_
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    _dmp_ Member

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    That's good stuff...very good stuff.
     
  4. Moi
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    Moi Active Member

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    I almost skipped this thread but I'm glad I didn't. I thought it was a post about Pee wee herman the pervert!

    Anyway, that's an incredibly great story. I admire the people in Canada who took so much time and care to do well by these kids. I can't imagine why anyone would have been so cruel to children in the first place but it's nice to see that the louder voice was one of respect and friendship.

    Now, if only the media would learn from this...stories about good people sell newspapers too.
     
  5. Said1
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    Said1 VIP Member

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    I thought of that after I posted it. A better title would have been "English Canada Makes Amends for Quebec...AGAIN". East Coasters have to be the nicest people on the planet, its not surprising to see they were the ones to try and make things right. I swear, only a Frechman would do something like that to children. I know that's probably a generalization, but who gives a shit :p:

    Now, what I would like to know is, why that article was not on the front page of the paper this morning??? The Mounties escorting the buses at the boarder would have made a nice picture. However, I suppose terrorism and Federal budgets are more important:rolleyes:
     
  6. UsaPride
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    UsaPride Senior Member

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    Me too, LOL!!! I think it's great that the kids were asked back and everyone welcomed them so nicely. Wonderful!!
     

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