Eleven-year-old Brydan Jackson shows off the Bauer Vapor X:60 skates he received free, along with other hockey equipment, from Marc Cormier, left, and Tyler Nowek, co-owners of Ultimate Hockey and Skate. Brydan's own gear was recently stolen.
Eleven-year-old Brydan Jackson couldn't believe how quickly good fortune followed bad when he was outfitted for free by the owners of Ultimate Hockey and Skate.
"I think it was really, really cool that I was given all this stuff for free," Brydan said Thursday. "It was a big surprise and I'm very grateful."
Brydan, a member of the West Kelowna Outlaw peewee squad, had all his equipment stolen the day before the team's first game of the season earlier this month.
"He was very disappointed not to be able to play, but he still went to the game," said Brydan's mom, Sherry Jackson. "He put on his suit, dress shirt and tie, and went to the arena to cheer on his team."
The Jacksons were in the process of trying to borrow equipment or buy used gear as word of Brydan's misfortune got around to the owners of Ultimate Hockey and Skate in downtown Westbank.
"We didn't hesitate for a second to help out," said Marc Cormier, who owns the store with business partner Tyler Nowek. "We got him set up with skates, shoulder pads, chest protector, pretty much the whole nine yards."
Cormier, who grew up in Moncton, N.B., recalls he was once lacing up for a game with a pair of old skates that were much too big for his feet.
"Coach came over and said, 'Here, try these on,' and he gave me brand new skates. I've never forgotten that.
"When Tyler and I hear about a kid who's had all his equipment stolen, we like to help out if we can," Cormier said. "It's kind of paying it forward. Plus, we want kids to keep going and play hockey. It keeps them healthy and off the streets."
With the new gear, worth about $700, Brydan was able to play in the Outlaws' second game of the season, in which he registered an assist. He also proudly wore the equipment for the official team photograph, which was taken last night at Royal LePage Arena.