Thank you VERY much for the posting. IMO, VERY appropriate. From OTFC's site, I noticed the pics which included Sully, and just thought how that did speak volumes about the close ties this organization has developed with the community and with each other. I was a bit curious to see if the Captain would attend- glad to see he did.
The service was moving, sad, and sometimes lighthearted. Preds showed up well. Most of the roster was there, and many ex-Preds: De Vries, Ward, Sulzer, Sully, JP, McKenzie, Stu, Fiddler (sure I'm missing a few). Current players not there: Toots, Blum, Blake, Smitty, neither goalie. Cube was there. He's still not past the bike test. Pretty frustrated. Leafs GM Burke was there, along with Tie Domi and Brian McCabe.
Leggie was supposed to get up and speak and couldn't do it (very emotional). Walked over and asked Domi to stand in for him Domi and McCabe went up together and did a great job. Told stories, sad and happy. McCabe came off very Wade-like (big, fun-loving, emotional, passionate).
One clear message came through: Wade Belak was loved and respected beyond what you'd expect from a regular player. Wade had a unique impact on people's lives. His free spirit, coupled with being a "guy's guy" who stood up for his teammates and backed down from no one, affected so many people.
The whole thing was surreal. This guy was viewed univerally as a happy guy. He had plans and was doing what he wanted to do. He was done with hockey and the fighting. His exit was more of a retirement. He was fixing up his future house on land near Grassland Elementary. His life was just beginning. Although depression can be hidden, I don't think Wade took his own life. I will always believe this was an accident.
For those of us who view the Preds as more of a family than a pro sports franchise, cultivating a special relationship between themselves and this city and it's fans, Sunday was more proof. One of our own met with tradegy, and everyone stepped up in support. Looking around the room at the post-service reception, our family did us proud and supported Jen, Andie, and Alex just like a blood family would. It was also striking how many ex-Preds answered the call. People like Sully and JP are class acts. Instead of being bitter toward a team that no longer wanted their services, they jumped in as if it were mid-season and they were a part of it. If they had never come, nobody would have thought twice, yet they were there hugging and mixing in like a family reunion.
I thought about the appropriateness of this post. It was a private ceremony and therefore commenting on it may not be right. However, after reading the limited local press coverage (much better coverage in the Toronto Sun, including 14 pictures), I thought true pred fans would like to know what it was like (not the celebrity of it, but the emotion), and the Belak family along with the Preds would be ok with letting people know how much love was in that room.
Thanks for the recap...very well put...it is a shame that Toronto did a better job than our own media..I bet that none of the sports personality in town were there or were they? It would interested to know who did attend...you did a nice job
thanks for the personal insight. ILIILI. it was very kind and appropriate of you to share this, and i appreciate it.
personally I have a little bit of a different opinion on the news coverage of this event. the family asked for privacy and frankly i think it is ghoulish of the toronto paper to send people down and ask for quotes at a memorial service. i don't care if he was a "public personality"
now, as to our local media lack of sports coverage of the predators in all the other areas, i agree, they're horrid.
The media not covering it is just Nashville and it has nothing to do with hockey. Celebs here get their privacy for the most part. Think of all the tragic deaths country music has had over the years and notice how little of the services have been covered with the media. It's just the way Nashville is.