MONDAY, APRIL 8: INTRIGUE BEYOND THE ICE
by Tracy Gagnon
As a hockey rookie, I’ve been amazed by the demonstrations of courage I’ve seen.
The courage of hockey players and their families. The courage of volunteers. The courage of spectators.
There are simply too many of those stories to tell here, but I wanted to highlight one in this blog of which you are likely unaware.
It’s a difficult story to tell. It’s a story of intrigue, treachery and even criminal intent. I’m sure you are surprised by this behind-the-scenes testimonial, but I can guarantee you, it’s true. As a journalist, I feel it was my obligation to get the facts to the fans.
You may have seen PAWSitive Bear in the stands at the 2013 IIHF Ice Hockey Women's World Championship courageously remaining, well, PAWSitive, as she held the ugly truth inside: her PAWSitive family was recently infiltrated by a thief who absconded with one of their own.
If you don’t know the PAWSitive family, it is headed by a large fluffy she-bear who is the Ontario Women’s Hockey Association’s mascot and represents the family of values upheld by the OWHA: Fair Play, Fun, Excellence, Good Citizenship, Integrity, Equity and Honesty.
Every OWHA player carries a PAW on each shoulder of their jersey. The first PAW symbolizes the responsibility of each player to uphold the values both on and off the ice. The other PAW is a talisman that brings the players the positive energy of every other player in the OWHA.
PAWSitive Bear was way too busy to be at all OWHA games at all times, so pint-sized PAWsitives, who travel the games carrying their own backpacks, were brought forth to represent each value: Play Bear, Fun Bear, Excellence Bear, GC (Good Citizenship) Bear, Integrity Bear, Equity Bear and Honesty Bear.
Some diabolic mind or minds purloined Honesty Bear. The irony was not lost on Fran Rider, President of the OWHA, who I recently met secretly with at SBP Arena.
The OWHA response was swift but kind. “We didn’t need to know who took Honesty,” Rider said. “We just wanted her back.”
Thankfully, the bear was returned, unharmed and without international incident, but questions remain. Who would steal one of the values OWHA holds most dear? Are the six other values at risk? Is PAWSitive Bear herself also at risk?
Honesty Bear was tucked safely in the President’s arms, who assured me the entire PAWSitive family is safe and being monitored by highly trained security forces.
From where I sat, I could see PAWSitive Bear moving easily among the throngs, vulnerable as the day she was born. She could have retreated into a den with her seven values, but she was here at the women’s worlds where she knew she belonged.
That’s what PAWSitive Power is all about: standing up when it’s not easy to promote the values that best represent what women’s hockey is all about. Let’s continue to cheer for Play, Fun, Excellence, GC, Integrity, Equity and Honesty after the women’s worlds, to Sochi – and beyond!
Your Hockey Rookie,
About Rookie Reflections: Tracy Gagnon is an Ottawa, Ont., resident and a media volunteer for the 2013 IIHF Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship. A self-admitted hockey newbie, Tracy and her fellow volunteers, who are generously giving their energy and time to make this event a success, will take us behind the scenes at SBP Arena in Ottawa, Ont., the Nepean Sportsplex and everywhere in between for the inside scoop on what goes into hosting a major world championship in the nation’s capital – all from the eyes of a total rookie.