Sunday, May 6, 2012

Calgary Welcome and Then Some!

Click here to see what a great WELCOME is!
Brad enters Calgary!

The ride into Calgary started out with a hard fight. A rare wind from the east negated the mostly downhill route and it was all Pat and I could do to turn the pedals. We traded off the lead to try and share the workload and despite the tough headwind we were actually making decent time. We had a deadline to meet some friends of ours at Calaway Park just outside the Calgary city limits so we had to keep up the pace. As if the day wasn’t hard enough, 30 km away from our meeting point, I broke a spoke on my wheel. We tried calling Erik in the support car but he had already parked it and got on his bike to meet us on the road. Pat assessed the situation and decided that if he swapped wheels with me he might be able to ride it into town and we’d both get there on time. Erik met up with us about 15 km from Calaway Park and with a set of fresh legs in the mix we powered on into the unrelenting wind.

Riding into Calaway Park was truly special. About 30 people, Flames Alumni and friends from Talisman Energy, cheered us on as we rolled into the parking lot. Our tough efforts riding into the wind were immediately rewarded with a tremendous display of support. Best yet, all of our friends at the park were there to join us for the last 25 km into town and to keep everyone safe, the Calgary Police Department established an escort for us. We had an entire lane of Highway 1 and every intersection along the way blocked off for us to ride through smoothly. It was unbelievable having such great company and having a chance to catch up with some of my buddies I played with in the NHL and having the police go through all that effort for us is something I’ll never forget.

Brad is presented with a $10,000 cheque from the Calgary Flames Alumni & Foundation
Just when I didn’t think the day could get much better, we turned a corner and the Boys and Girls Club was in sight. Dozens of screaming and cheering kids held up a banner for me to ride through on my arrival. People were there from the local media and after a few quick interviews, we went inside to the gym. The kids lined up along side the doorway and gave high fives and cheered as we all came inside. I can’t say enough about how overwhelming our entrance was. It was truly special to see all the support the people in Calgary have for this cause. As if all this wasn’t enough, the Calgary Flames Alumni and the Calgary Flames Foundation donated $5000 dollars each and Talisman energy donated $2500 and lots of sports equipment.

Calgary BGC, Talisman Employees
& Flames Alumni
It was truly a most memorable event and I’m so thankful to everyone who made such a special day possible. We raised $12 500, a whole lot of equipment for the club, and we sure turned a lots of heads rolling into town with our police escort. With every visit to a Boys and Girls Club I’m reminded of why we’re doing what we’re doing. After our visit today I really can’t say enough for how important the Boys and Girls Club is in every community they operate. I urge everyone to donate and get involved with the club in your area and help make an impact of a child’s life.


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