The heart of the rink

La Scie re­mem­bers Neil Ward with legacy hockey tour­na­ment

The Central Voice - - Sports - BY ADAM RAN­DELL Adam.ran­[email protected]­cen­tralvoice.ca

A man who gave freely of his time to the peo­ple and youth of La Scie has been re­mem­bered through his pas­sion, hockey.

The first an­nual Neil Ward Midget Legacy Tour­na­ment was held Nov. 30 – Dec. 2, in the midget divi­sion, with three teams – La Scie, Baie Verte, and Spring­dale – tak­ing part in the Cape St. John Arena event.

Ward passed on June 27, at the age of 52, and Nancy Thomas, with the La Scie’s Mi­nor Hockey As­so­ci­a­tion, said as soon as the sea­son started, the as­so­ci­a­tion and its young hockey play­ers wanted to do some­thing to hon­our the mem­ory of Ward.

Along with coach­ing mi­nor hockey, Ward was a past pres­i­dent of the La Scie’s mi­nor hockey as­so­ci­a­tion and was a mem­ber of the La Scie Jets, which won the Herder in ‘93-‘94.

Thomas couldn’t help but get emo­tional when speak­ing of Ward.

“I don’t even know how to de­scribe how good this man was,” Thomas said. “You can go on and on about his in­volve­ment with the com­mu­nity, and you can go on and on about his in­volve­ment in hockey.”

And when­ever you en­tered his shop, co-owned with his brother, she said Ward would take the time to chat with cus­tomers and spoke with youth about hockey.

In bring­ing for­ward the tour­na­ment, she said, Ward’s mem­ory packed the arena.

“The sta­dium was full, and all of his fam­ily came out,” she said. “Neil was the heart of this rink, and for his fam­ily to all come out, I think it was heal­ing for them.”

Mem­bers of the fam­ily con­tacted didn’t wish to be in­ter­viewed, as they are still griev­ing the pass­ing of their loved one.

CON­TRIB­UTED PHOTO

Mem­bers of the La Scie Jets midget team, raise their sticks to for­mer coach Neil Ward, who passed ear­lier this year, as they hon­oured at the first an­nual Neil Ward Midget Legacy Tour­na­ment at the Cape St. John Arena, Nov. 30 – Dec. 2.

CON­TRIB­UTED PHOTO

With fam­ily mem­bers in at­ten­dance, res­i­dents gath­ered at the Cape St. John Arena, to hon­our Ward dur­ing the tour­na­ment.

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