Archer and his new jersey. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen)

Sarah Simpson column: Hockey heroes: gift of signed jersey restores faith in humanity

I like this one because it shows that good will prevail.

I like this story. It’s a follow-up to a news story I wrote last month but I’m stealing it for my column this week because apparently I am a thief. Is it even possible to steal your own story? I suppose it is because here we are!

I like this one because it shows that good will prevail. The disappointment of a family over stolen hockey gear has been replaced with gratitude and awe of the kindness of others.

On Feb. 17 the hockey bag of one of Cara Bjornson’s young sons was stolen from their family car. The bag contained not just hockey gear but a prized Pittsburgh Penguins, Sidney Crosby hockey jersey that both of her sons were quite attached to. (Now that I think about it, I probably liked this story because I’m on the Crosby side of the Crosby vs. Ovechkin debate.)

Bjornson knew she could replace the gear but she put a plea up on Facebook asking for her friends and their friends to keep an eye out for the special sweater. To date, it hasn’t been found.

The story ran in the Feb. 22 edition of the Cowichan Valley Citizen and thanks to the wonders of the Internet, it caught the attention of a guy by the name of Brandon Walker, some 4,120 kilometres to the southeast in Nashville, Tennessee.

Walker is a Cowichan Valley product who worked at the Citizen as the sports reporter “100 years ago” in his estimation. (It was technically a little more than 25 years ago).

SEE RELATED: Duncan’s Brandon Walker has a front-row seat for Predators’ playoff drive

Long story short, Walker ended up getting hired by the Nashville Predators in 2002. Today he’s the manager of hockey operations for the NHL club.

It just so happened that when he read the story, Walker’s mom, who still lives in Duncan, was with him in Nashville for a visit.

“When I saw the story I knew that I wanted to do something,” he said. “I am going to be sending her [home] with a signed PK Subban jersey for him.”

Walker’s mom arrived at the newspaper office last week, gift in hand, and told staff that many years ago Brandon had his gear stolen and he knew how it felt to lose something like that. He was in the position to do so, so he wanted to do what he could to put some smiles on the kids’ faces again.

Walker said Subban was happy to sign the jersey when he heard the story.

“That’s really cool,” Bjornson said. “It’s crazy that they were actually talking to him about this. It wasn’t just a random jersey hanging around.”

On Tuesday afternoon Bjornson and her youngest son, Archer, came to pick up the gift.

Archer’s got a little growing to do before the jersey will fit but the reality is this particular jersey is likely going to be hung on a wall before it ever gets hung on a gear tree.

But that’s OK. There’ll be other practice jerseys. But only one jersey that will remind the Bjornsons of that time when what could have easily resulted in a loss of faith in humanity instead has turned into their admiration of people’s willingness to help out.

How’s that for a cool story?

On another note, I just wanted to say thank you to those who sent me fun comments and photos of their misspelled birthday cakes. Apparently I stumbled across a trend…



sarah.simpson@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

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