Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The Prophet of Hockey

It just speaks volumes about the type of man Roger Neilson was that although he only spent a few short years in Ottawa as an assistant coach for the Senators, almost immediately after his death in 2003, plans for Roger's House, a pediatric palliative care facility, were announced. Since it's opening earlier this year, 41 families have found the help they've needed to get them through some of the worst times in their lives.

This week however, Roger's House was the site of a much happier, though solemn occasion as members of the Israeli under 18 hockey team visited the site to share their memories of the man who almost single handedly introduced hockey to their country. Through the camp that he founded there in 1997, hockey has grown to the point in Israel where they are able to have both an under 18 and adult national teams.

Until today I didn't even know that anyone in Israel even knew what hockey was, but it's not all that surprising to find out that Roger Neilson was directly involved in bringing the sport he loved to children on the other side of the world.


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