A spe­cial visit

Team­mates visit fam­ily on one-year an­niver­sary of Bran­don Har­ris’ death

The Compass - - SPORTS - CHAR­ITY BY NI­CHOLAS MERCER nmercer@cbn­com­pass.ca

In the game of hockey, team­mates be­come fam­ily.

In some cases, they be­come closer than ac­tual fam­ily. You spend hours on the road, in the dress­ing room and on the ice to­gether. That bond, forged in sweat, just be­comes stronger as the years pass.

A year ago, the CeeBees mid­get A team lost a mem­ber of their fam­ily when Bran­don Har­ris trag­i­cally died on Dec. 17.

On the one-year an­niver­sary of his death, Bran­don’s team­mates made the hour-long jour­ney to the fam­ily’s home in Sibley’s Cove to spend time with the fam­ily and re­mem­ber their late team­mate.

His fa­ther never stopped smil­ing the whole time we were there. Jor­dan Coombs

That team’s cap­tain, Josh Rodgers, came up with the idea and 15 of his team­mates dressed in the fa­mil­iar red, white and blue to take the somber drive along the Con­cep­tion Bay High­way.

Trips like th­ese, just like los­ing a team­mate, are never easy. There is no way to know how the fam­ily will re­act or what emo­tions the jour­ney will draw out of you.

“His fa­ther never stopped smil­ing the whole time we were there,” said for­ward Jor­dan Coombs.

Dur­ing the couple of hours they spent with the Har­ris fam­ily, the CeeBees spent their time talk­ing about the mem­o­ries of Bran­don and hockey. They prob­a­bly spoke of his ex­cep­tional skill or is quiet and car­ing de­meanor.

“We told a whole bunch of sto­ries and just sat down for a few hours talk­ing to his fam­ily,” said Coombs. “We just wanted to ease their minds.”

The tragedy sent shock­waves through the Trin­ity-Con­cep­tion area and the provin­cial hockey com­mu­nity. Hun­dreds of peo­ple filled into Bac­calieu Col­le­giate in Old Per­li­can for the fu­neral.

The team ded­i­cated the rest of the year to Har­ris’ mem­ory and pledged to win it for their brother. In the hockey world, there is no big­ger trib­ute than that.

Fu­elled by his mem­ory and the No. 6 CeeBees’ home jer­sey that hung on the bench be­hind them, the CeeBees paid Bran­don the ul­ti­mate trib­ute by cap­tur­ing a provin­cial ti­tle on home ice.

It was sup­posed to be Bran­don’s ti­tle, and in some ways it was.

On Dec. 17, so­cial me­dia was flooded with mes­sages re­mem­ber­ing Bran­don. Daniel Cur­ran wrote, ”You will never be for­got­ten and you will live on in our hearts.”

Cur­ran was among those who held on to Bran­don’s mem­ory the strong­est. He made sure the jer­sey was seen at prac­tice and games.

There were other mes­sages like his. Oth­ers that pledged to re­mem­ber Bran­don and what he stood for.

The CeeBee Stars pledged to never use the No. 6 again and the CeeBees fam­ily com­forted their own. Team­mates never forget each other. “We’re all fam­ily,” said Coombs.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

Mem­bers of the 2014-2015 CeeBees mid­get A team paid a spe­cial visit to the fam­ily of Bran­don Har­ris last week on the an­niver­sary of his death.

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