Hard to believe after a year of planning the 2015 Fred Page Cup (FPC) is over. I was fortunate to be on the organizing committee in a major role responsible for sponsorship with my pal David Murphy. I was on the FPC committee in 2003 but just did media and again in 2008 with the RBC Cup, but this time seemed sweeter since I played a bigger role.
The organizing committee was one of the most cohesive and hard working groups I’ve ever had the pleasure of volunteering with. The work ethic, commitment and dedication everyone showed from day one was nothing short of spectacular. When I hear people refer to the Cornwall hosted 2015 FPC as one that raised the bar, I am overcome with a sense of pride and accomplishment. As a group, our goal from the start was to make sure the teams who came left with an experience of a lifetime and the city delivered.
We heard many times over, and I saw it for myself, how hospitable all Cornwallites were from the restaurant and hotel staff, tournament volunteers, business owners to the friendly community members who were just offering a polite welcome.
I can’t say enough about the team of volunteers who were there each of the five days doing a bang-up job and going above and beyond what they signed up for when asked. There are too many to name but they all know who they are. As a committee member, I know that all the work we do is for not if these individuals don’t show up and give there time. To all of them a HUGE THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart. They were the difference makers.
I will have many fond memories from this experience but one of the fondest will be spending a few hours with Neil Doef. The courage, perseverance and all around positive vibe this young man exudes left me inspired and very emotional at times. Neil suffered a severe injury in December that left him paralyzed from the waist down and was told he would never walk again. He has exceeded all recovery expectations and has stood up and moved way more than any medical professional told him he ever would and he continues his fight. I choked back tears when he wheeled himself onto the ice to a 4 minute standing ovation on Friday night surrounded by his CCHL brothers in the Colts and Canadiens lineups. It was a moment etched in time I will carry and talk about for a long time. He is a very humble and genuine soul who is surrounded by a great family and friends. He has every right to be angry but chooses to remain positive and sets an example we can all follow. I am now a proud supporter of the Doef Strong movement.
The CCHL commissioner has said this event raised the bar and there are many who should take pride in that. The Eastern Canadian Championship of Junior A hockey was in Cornwall last week and we put our best foot forward and set an example for others moving forward.
Thank you Cornwall and area.