Grandpa Wright

This is a departure from my usual sports blogging, I hope you won’t mind.

My grandpa died early this morning after a long battle with cancer. He was a top notch man, and one of my very favourite people on this planet.

Grandpa was a role model of mine. He taught me about the big things in life, like leaving a legacy with your family and city. In 1976, he was elected mayor of Saskatoon, the first ever mayor born in the city. He spent his entire life there. I always thought grandpa had two great loves in his life, my grandma, and Saskatoon.

Grandma obviously came first though. On one of my recent visits out to Saskatoon, he said he and grandma started going steady in February 1945, and that was that. They were best friends and constant companions for close to 70 years. Grandma and grandpa looked at each other like they were the luckiest people in the world, no matter what year it was.

If my marriage ends up half as great as that, I’ll be very happy.

One of the best parts of visiting Saskatoon was going on drives around the city with him, where he’d share all sorts of stories about what projects his construction company was working on, or the landmarks he and his family helped create. Grandpa’s first job was straightening nails on a construction project, and he ended his career president and owner of Wright Construction. His son now runs it, and his grandson is climbing the ranks as well.

Along with the big things in life, like legacy, and life companions, grandpa was good at enjoying life’s smaller pleasures. He was the best person at naps I’ve ever seen. He’d come home from work for lunch every day, and have a nap on the couch before going back to work. If the TV was blaring, all the lights were on, people were sitting on the opposite couch talking, it didn’t matter. There he’d be, napping away. One time in the summer I was visiting, I think I was about 8 or 9. I was reading on the couch in the living room (I was a very nerdy kid) and Grandpa good-naturedly scolded me for being too quiet.

He was a life long Riders fan, and completely the reason why I follow them now. When I was in Saskatoon going to school for a couple of years, I loved watching the Riders with him. He could analyze things in the game better than anyone I know. When hockey hooked me later in life, grandpa loved sharing it with me. We talked about Gordie Howe (From Floral, Saskatchewan which was right next door to Saskatoon!), Bobby Orr, and how the Canucks were doing.

If you were good at a back rub, he adored you for life.

There was a grocery store chain in BC that grandpa enjoyed immensely. They didn’t have this chain in Saskatchewan, so when he flew out to BC to visit us, he would drive all the grandkids that were at our house to Thrifty’s as soon as he got in from the airport. There were these wrapped chocolates that he loved, and he would absolutely stuff this plastic bag full of them. I mean this bag would be practically splitting at the seams by the time he was done. The dollar total for this giant bag of chocolates was always something obscene, but he never cared. He liked what he liked.

I could go on for pages about all his community accomplishments for Saskatoon, but I know the local news outlets will do a stand up job of that.

He meant a very great deal to me, and my family. We will miss him dearly. Rest in peace, Toonpa.

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Borscht

Geno left the hotel on the corner of the busy Montreal street. It was snowing lightly, and the air was crisp. Geno tucked his face further into his scarf as he dodged a pack of teenagers going the other direction. He had just finished a rousing game of ping pong with James Neal. Geno had won 8 games to 6 and he wanted to celebrate by going for a walk in the snow. Maybe Geno would stop for some ice cream too. He wasn’t sure.

He was contemplating how Russian social values would have to adapt to coexist with the largely Western influenced populations that would be coming to Sochi during the Winter Olympics, when he heard a noise. Geno paused. It was coming from somewhere beside the noisy pub in front of him. Geno waited. He heard the noise again. *Yip* He walked closer towards the side of the pub. *Yip. Yes, there was definitely something there. *Yip* It was coming from a large cardboard box, that lay next to the restaurant’s dumpster. *Yip* Geno was right in front of the box now, he picked up the lid and tossed it aside. *Yipyipyipyip* the noise was more frantic now. He looked into the box and saw a puppy, its fur matted and covered in mud. Geno couldn’t believe it. How could someone have the evil and careless whim to cast out a puppy like a piece of trash.

He knew that his hockey team was on the road, in a hotel, and taking care of a puppy was not really a beneficial responsibility to have, but Geno knew he couldn’t just leave the puppy in the box. He picked the puppy up gently. The puppy was quiet now. Geno and the puppy stared at each other for a long moment. The puppy stretched up and licked Geno’s nose. Geno grinned and tucked the puppy under his jacket, hoping the layers would help in the cold.

“Your name is now Borscht.” he said. “I’ll get Sid to come look at you. I think he’s having an existential crisis and maybe you will make him smile.”

He turned and started to walk back to his hotel. Borscht wouldn’t last much longer in these cold temperatures outside. The ice cream could wait.

A Robot With The Wrong Job

Sidney Crosby’s motor hums moodily as he stares out his hotel window at the downtown street in Montreal. Or was it Toronto. Or maybe Minnesota. Crosby couldn’t keep the cities straight any longer. Did it even matter? The sensors in his heart like region ping painfully as he strides morosely over to the mirror. He stares at his reflection. He picks up the hockey stick resting against the wall next to the mirror, redoing the tape on the blade in perfectly straight strips, without needing to blink. The minutes tick on, ever so slowly. His gears ache.

Crosby’s phone pings. A text from Geno: I found puppy to pet come now. He stares back into the mirror, mulling over whether or not he should follow through on Geno’s request. Crosby runs a comb through his hair. It’s a habit he picked up from the other players on the Penguins. His hair doesn’t need it because it always perfectly coiffed, but he does it anyways. He decides to go. Maybe it will make this evening go by quicker. Crosby manages to turn the corner of his lip up in a semblance of a smile as he heads out the door towards Geno’s room.

He walks down past three doors, and an abstract painting that seems to be found on the walls in every hotel in the world. The door for Geno’s room is open a crack, the dead bolt holding it ajar. Crosby slides in, with a tiny wave. Geno is splayed out on the bed making funny faces at the puppy. He smiles widely and tosses the puppy gently towards Crosby across the bed.

“You pet PUPPY! Is fun for anyone!” Geno said.

Crosby rubs his hand back and forth over the puppy’s ears. What was that sensation? His control unit clicks and whirs. Soft. That was it. The puppy felt soft. It was the first time in months Crosby had felt something other than vague despair. The puppy was soft. It bounces up on the bed and licks his cheek, and Crosby’s control unit clicks and whirrs a little faster this time. He hums, a lighter hum than before. He feels light, and something else. Maybe…it was excitement.

“Thanks Geno.” he said. “I have to go. Good night.”

Crosby walks back to his room, much faster than on the way there. He slides his key card into his room door, and turns the handle. He grabs his lap top from the desk and sits on the bed. He opens it and types “dating site for farmers/robots”, pausing for a long moment before pressing return. Crosbot isn’t sure what he is hoping to get out of this search result, but he is ready to find out.

Canucks/Coyotes Preview

So, it’s my birthday today!  If the Canucks really love me, they’ll win tonight, right?  Hopefully in a blowout fashion.  Wellwood is apparently back in and SOB is finally out of AV’s doghouse for a night.  Burr gets to skate with the twins, and the smokin hot 2 Euros and an American line is still together.  Should be a good one. 

Hopefully I see on my birthday

A Jovo/Bieksa fight.  The hottness would be at dangerously high levels.

Swedes scoring!

Another Hansen goal

Happy Meals getting back in AV’s good books

Carcillo getting somewhat destroyed by a Canuck

Close ups of the prettiest Canucks on the bench. Hehehehe.

A superhero Lui.

Wayne Gretzky absolutely losing his mind over our super skilled scorers