James Speck and grandson Jason

Alert Bay welcomed to the ‘hood


PORT McNEILL—It did not take long for Port McNeill Minor Hockey coaches and families to make James Speck feel comfortable.

PORT McNEILL—It did not take long for Port McNeill Minor Hockey coaches and families to make James Speck feel comfortable.

So Speck wasted no time in providing a bit of comfort for the association’s atom and peewee players and coaches.

Speck, a fisheries officer from Alert Bay, recently donated a complete set of hoodie sweatshirts to the two clubs, hoodies that he custom-crafted on his own press and silk screen.

“It was coming to the practices and games and seeing the kindness and the effort of the coaches on behalf of the kids,” said Speck, whose grandson, Chris Speck, began skating this season for the peewee Storm hockey team.

“I wanted to give something back.”

Purchasing the sweatshirts from a supplier in Vancouver, Speck adorned them with the Port McNeill Minor Hockey logo on the chest, the team names — “Storm” for the peewees and “Icebreakers” for the atoms — along each front pocket, and each player’s name and number on the back.

He also added “coach” down the sleeves of each of the coaches’ hoodies.

“I think it’s pretty special,” said Kevin Laird, a PMMHA executive and atom team manager who has children on both squads.

“He’s from Alert Bay, so he’s not centred in this community. But I think he feels assimilated into the program and the town.”

Speck’s grandson is part of a larger turnout of skaters from Alert Bay who have recently joined the program.

It began with a few players last season, and Laird believes the program has at least 10 Cormorant Island skaters this season.

“I think the kids that came over and played last year went back and told all their friends how much fun they had,” Laird said.  “I feel it’ll expand even more next year.”

Without a hometown rink, Alert Bay’s prospective skaters must overcome the obstacles of time, cost and ferry travel to play in Port McNeill.

But Speck said his community’s children have been welcomed with open arms by the other players, families and coaching staff.

The longtime youth soccer coach on Cormorant Island repeatedly mentioned how impressed he was by Port McNeill’s volunteer hockey coaches.

“I’ve never seen this, ever, in my years of coaching, how well everyone gets along,” he said. “These coaches deserve a lot of credit.”

After deciding he wanted to donate something to the program, Speck finally settled on sweatshirts after talking with association coaches and officials.

He initially made a set for Chris’s peewee teammates, then talked to Laird about doing something similar for the atoms.

“The atoms were willing to pay for ’em,” Speck said.

“But by the time I was done, my heart wasn’t in taking any money from them.

“It’s almost like an extended family for me —  that’s how I look at it.”

 

 

Just Posted

VIDEO: North Island man trapped under ATV for days shows promise at Victoria hospital

Out of induced coma, 41-year-old is smiling, squeezing hands and enjoying sunshine

Crime on the rise? Here’s Port Hardy RCMP’s third quarter report for 2019

The Port Hardy RCMP has so far opened 3,349 files in 2019, with only the fourth quarter left.

Tri-Port honours the fallen on Remembrance Day

Check out the North Island Gazette’s Remembrance Day photo gallery from Port… Continue reading

Alumni vs. Midgets hamper game set for Nov. 23 in Port McNeill

“We really want to make this a special day on the North Island”

VIDEO: 12th annual Port Hardy Wild hockey tournament finals

The Wild vs. Whalers and Warriors vs. Flyers from last weekend’s tournament.

VIDEO: B.C. couple creates three-storey ‘doggie mansion’ for their five pups

Group of seven, who Kylee Ryan has dubbed as the ‘wandering paws,’ have a neat setup in Jade City

MacKinnon powers Avs to 5-4 OT win over Canucks

Vancouver battled back late to pick up single point

Port Alberni mom takes school district to court over Indigenous smudging, prayer in class

Candice Servatius, who is an evangelical Christian, is suing School District 70

Family of B.C. man killed in hit-and-run plead for tips, one year later

Cameron Kerr’s family says the driver and passengers tried to cover their tracks

Princeton couple pays for dream vacation with 840,000 grocery store points

It’s easy if you know what you are doing, they say

Chilliwack family’s dog missing after using online pet-sitting service

Frankie the pit bull bolted and hit by a car shortly after drop off through Rover.com

B.C. wildlife experts urge hunters to switch ammo to stop lead poisoning in birds

OWL, in Delta, is currently treating two eagles for lead poisoning

B.C. First Nations drop out of court challenge, sign deals with Trans Mountain

Upper Nicola Band says deal represents a ‘significant step forward’

Most Read