2016 Canadian Jr. A Champions!

Yeesssss!!!  2016 Royal Bank Cup Canadian Champions!

How rewarding has this winding Warriors playoff journey been?  Here are a few twists and turns along the way….  After 58 games, this club ended up in second place in the BCHL Interior Division, with 79 points, 22 fewer than the first place Penticton Vees, and third in BCHL points behind Penticton and Chilliwack.  The 2016 playoffs began on March 4th and ended 35 games later on May 22nd.  The Warriors played 93 regular season and playoff games, far more than any other Jr. A club in Canada. (And that does not include exhibition games.)

RBC ChampionsBy the end of this winding road, all the players were sore, bruised and banged up, with a few nursing more serious injuries, one playing the Championship game with a broken hand.  I believe that I head the phrase, “Just tape my hand to my stick and get me out there.”  Now that’s a true Canadian hockey player!

Personally as the Warriors chaplain, I was able to travel with the team for all 27 final days on the road.  We left on April 27th for Estevan, SK and the Western Canada Cup and returned as Canadian Champions from Lloydminster, AB with the Royal Bank Cup late atWith the Triple Crown.jpg night after a 13 hour drive on May 23rd.  During that time, I was pleased to hold a playoff chapel in Estevan and also one in Lloydminster.  All together, we had 15 Warriors chapel sessions this year – 10 during the regular season plus 5 during the playoffs..  I am so honoured and thankful to be trusted to give some guidance and spiritual direction to the players and personnel within this wonderful Warriors club.  I want to take a minute here to thank Mark and Janelle Cheyne and Head Coach Rylan Ferster for setting me free to operate as the team chaplain.

Well, the parade and the initial celebrations are now over…. and I am increasingly aware of how weary I am. (and I am assuming the entire organization is, including our enduring fans…)  It is time to relax for a few moments as the summer rolls into the valley, and enjoy the beautiful place that God has made for us.  It’s flip-flop time…. for beaches, boats, wineries, patios, and the like.

May God richly bless you all as, like the Warriors players, you take a bit of time to relax and rest. May we all realize and appreciate the tremendous times we have experienced together and be truly thankful.  We are family!  And… to the players moving on to college scholarships and other places, may the Lord be your strength. I know that you will always remember that this has been a year that none of us will ever, ever forget!

In Christian Faith,

Chaplain Don

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Western Canada Cup Champions!

I am writing this blog post in Saskatoon, SK, as the Western Canada Cup Champion West Kelowna Warriors are slowly making their way to Lloydminster.  Once we arrive there, we will be one of only 5 teams left in Canada, competing to become the 2016 Royal Bank Cup Canadian Junior A hockey Champions.  Pinch me because I think I’m dreaming; no wait….. let me dream for another 12 days!

Since we left Kelowna on April 27th, it’s been quite a long ride….. literally.  After a two day bus marathon, we rolled into Estevan, SK.  The host city and tournament committee did a wonderful job at the Western Canada Cup, and they must be commended for their tremendous efforts.  I must add that the Suburban hotel staff where we stayed were very accommodating (pun intended), and told us at the end of our stay that they were very, very impressed with our team during the tournament.  The front desk manager actually gave a Warriors and hotel staffspeech as we all gathered in the hotel lobby before we left, and commended us on our deportment and respect for the hotel and other hotel guests.  It was quite a warm send-off, which concluded with a group picture of the Warriors, hotel staff and the Western Canada Cup.

After an opening win against the host Estevan Bruins followed by a rough and ‘not so nice’ game against the Brooks Bandits, AB (a loss) the Warriors won the rest of the way, with close wins over the Portage Terriers, (MB) and the Melfort Mustangs. (SK)  This set a up a great Championship game rematch with Brooks.  This time there was no doubt as our boys came away with a convincing 6-0 victory.

Personally, I was honoured to have a chapel with the team in Estevan, my 4th chapel during this long playoff run.  It looks like Warriors chapel number 5 will come in Lloydminster in about a week.  I love getting the boys together to chat about and consider other things than sticks and pucks. I believe that it grounds them and serves them well.

It is such an privilege to be on this amazing trip; the ride of a lifetime.  It is also a privilege to serve, whether it’s driving to Regina a couple of times or to help haul hockey equipment around, I am grateful to be a small part.  I am thankful to the Lord for the ministry that I am involved in, helping to give direction, personal counsel and hopefully wisdom to the people that God brings around me.  I am humbled when I think of the magnitude of that.

God bless you all and thank you for reading my latest Chaplain’s Talk!

Chaplain Don

 

 

 

 

 

 

Banner Hockey; Banner Chapels

 

“It’s like exploring new territory, experiencing something wonderfully exciting for orig-mediaitemid23237-8911[1]the first time at Royal Lepage Place here in West Kelowna”.  These are some of the thoughts that have drifted through my mind in the last week, when I ponder the fabulous times that we are enjoying in this 2016 BCHL playoff run.

How did we get here?  Well, to me the Warriors epic 2nd round playoff win over Penticton was the stuff of legend.  To win a series against the number 2 ranked team in Canada is a big deal, and to win 4 games in a row in that series was unreal.  That Saturday night game 6 series clinching victory was perhaps that most exciting time I have ever experienced at a Warriors game!  It was an absolutely beautiful madhouse, which in my mind set a new benchmark for passion, intensity and suspense for any Warriors hockey game I’ve ever been at in their 10 year history.

I’ve had many conversations throughout this season with a certain Warriors player (no names…) about the fact that we have no Warriors banners up at RLP, and he assured me that that situation would change before his time as a Warrior came to a close.  And…He was right… And the journey is certainly not over either, as we are now in the middle of an exciting 3rd round of BCHL playoffs.  As we have never been this far down the playoff road in 10 years of West Kelowna Warriors hockey, I have coined a phrase for this time of the year: I am calling it ‘Banner Hockey’.

Since I serve in an ancillary role with the Warriors, one of the wonderful benefits of Banner Hockey is that I get to hold a few more team chapels during this extended season. By the way, pretty much everyone on the team attend chapel (for which I am very thankful) unless that are away or they have another appointment.  So this coming week I’ll hold a ‘banner chapel’, and in between bites of pizza I’ll try to bring a little inner grounding to the guys, speak of big life issues plus have a prayer with them and shake every one of their hands or give them a hug as they leave the room..

These are the times of our lives, to be a small part of something this exciting.  I am grateful for being allowed to be a resource to our Warriors, our fans and staff.  Any while it is true that hockey is a small part of our bigger lives, it is a fabulous part!

May God bless you all, I’m humbled to serve you all.  Let’s go Warriors!

Chaplain Don Richmond

 

 

 

 

Playoff Time!

With last night’s 6-1 victory over Salmon Arm, the 2015-16 regular season is now in the rear view mirror, and it’s time for the most fun al all…. the playoffs!  I must say that I am so very proud of our team and what they have accomplished. I can honestly say that this group of players has meshed together as well as any team that I have seen.  I have been impressed with how everyone has determined to get on the same page, especially since the Christmas break.

I am enjoying our new Warriors tradition of holding the Awards Ceremony at centre Best D 2016Chaplaincy Program 2016ice immediately following the final regular season home game.  It certainly gives more fans an opportunity to watch the proceedings, rather than asking everyone to attend a separate banquet style occasion.  It was my privilege after the game to present 4 awards: the Humanitarian Award to Rylan Yaremko, the 3 Star Award to Jonathan Desbiens, 3 Stars Awardthe Best Defenceman was split between Rylan Yaremko and Nick Rutigliano, and the Chaplaincy Program Award to Captain Kyle Marino.  Our Captain has been a great encouragement to me in the Chaplaincy Program, and is always ready to encourage all the guys to come out.  We rarely have players miss out on Warriors chapels, and I’m thankful to Kyle for that.  Next week will be our final regularly scheduled Warriors chapel, (I’m hoping to add a few more due to a long playoff run…)   My topic that day will be Unity.  Unity does not necessarily mean Uniformity.  We are not all designed or made to be exactly the same.  We have different strengths and weaknesses, different personalities and different tastes. All those differences are great, and they make us wonderfully diverse.  What brings unity is the absence of selfish motivation and of territorialism.  As the saying goes, “It is absolutely amazing what can be accomplished if we don’t care who gets the credit.”  That is Unity.

As  Christian, I believe that unity is so very important, coming together under a common cause, humbling ourselves to a great task and looking past our own private agendas.  I find that as humans, that is not easy for us to do, in fact it might be one of the most difficult tasks of all.  Personally, I am sure of this; I need the strength of the Lord to make that choice.  It is only then, by that Grace that the whole becomes greater than the sum of it’s parts.  And I believe that is what it takes….. as we come to Playoff Time!!

With great respect, and in faith,

Chaplain D

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stretch Drive Time!

2016 WarriorsWith only 6 games left in the season, out Warriors are gearing up for what we truly hope is a long playoff run. It is good to know that at the present time as a team we are relatively healthy. (And as hockey fans know, a team needs good health, good goaltending and a slight bit of good luck to win in the post season)  It will be great to see #11 Jake LeBrun play his first game as a West Kelowna Warrior since being acquired from Prince George in January.  We are now definitely in the stretch drive of the season; the time of year that hockey fans and players everywhere look forward to.

This past week we had our formal Warriors team picture taken, which is of course a long standing hockey tradition.  Our guys sure made for a great team picture, one that Warriors fans will truly like.  I had the privilege of being on the ice that day with the team, and it struck me just how big most of our boys are!  (And how small I am!)  Everything was focused and serious for the picture, but of course it is impossible to keep these Warriors from having a bit of fun in the process. I am so very impressed with our team; at just how close they are as a group and how focused they are on their goal.

I lead Warriors chapel recently and mentioned to the guys just how awesome it was to be in Arizona.  During the late evening when the desert sky was completely dark, I was amazed at the countless stars that pierced the black canopy of space above me.  That night I thought of a  few verses from Psalm 19 which go like this:  “The heavens declare the glory of God; the stars proclaim the work of His hands.  Day after day they pour out their speech, night after night they display their knowledge.  There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard.”   I was reminded that God has a greater purpose for me; one that I most likely do not fully understand, and that I am not alone. I am also reminded just how small I really am, (far more so than how small I felt during the team picture…) and as much as I might resist it, the truth is that I am not calling all my own shots.

It is right there in that spot that I find contentment and peace.   From God.   Period. And that I discover it all in my faith in Christ.

With much respect and love,

Chaplain D

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chaplain D’s Desert Adventures

Welcome back to my Chaplain’s Chat blog!  With the major change in the BCHL and Warriors website, it took me a while to get Chaplain’s Chat on track.   It has been a while, and I’m glad to be back at it.

I want to catch you up on a bit of news….In late January,  Lorraine and I spent a wonderful 10 days in Arizona, a fabulous gift from a great supporter of Hockey Ministries Chaplaincy. While we were there, we had the opportunity to have brunch with Warriors 2016-01-25 19.21.49.jpgDirector of Player Personnel, Brent Gough, his wife Carly and their fabulous little boy Greysin.  That really was one of the highlights of our time in Arizona.  All of the wonderful sights of Phoenix and the entire state cannot compare with the friendship and relationships that we make in hockey and other areas of our lives.

 

Also, I went to a Arizona State University Sun Devils hockey game and watched ex-Warrior Jordan Masters play.  It was 2016-01-23 01.57.28wonderful to give Jordie a big old hug and chat with him after the game.  (I showed up to the game with a WK Warriors jersey on, just to bring a smile to his face.)  The game was a very high caliber and quick affair, and Jordie is doing quite well in a Sun Devils jersey.

One last thought: I am very excited about our upcoming 7th Annual Warriors Faith Night, which takes place on Friday February 19; faith night 2016_resized_2a game vs. the Vernon Vipers. This  evening will feature a church choir singing the National Anthem, as well as some Pastor’s playing boot hockey during one of the intermissions.  We will have a video on the big screen highlighting the Warriors chapel program, and we’ll have many church groups in the arena that night.  It will be nothing short of a fabulous evening!

Thanks so much for reading this latest edition of Chaplain’s Chat.  I trust that you enjoy it and that I would be an encouragement to the entire Warriors hockey family.

May Christ’s love warm you all,

John 3:16  “For God so loved the world that He gave His Son Jesus……”

Chaplain Don Richmond

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5th Annual Christmas Hamper Night

On Friday, December 4th, we held our 5th Annual Warriors Christmas Hamper Night, and I must say that the great fans of this club came through like never before!  I was so impressed by the generosity and giving spirit of you all.  Total donations are still trickling in, but we are well over $3,500 for this years donations!

Warriors

This is a picture of the team at this year’s hamper packing event.  We met at Lakeview Heights Baptist Church in West Kelowna on Tuesday, Dec. 8, packed up 50 real good hampers and immediately delivered them to one of the local elementary schools.  Each hamper will provide breakfast and a turkey dinner for  a family for Christmas.

Thank you fans so much for your giving Christmas spirit!  What a great accomplishment this year!  This is my short Christmas message to you all.  For me as a chaplain and a dedicated follower of Jesus, I am humbled that I can be a small part of this great cause, to serve people and to give them hope.  I feel like I know the heart of Christ, a heart of peace, joy and servitude, not one of intimidation, violence and fear.  This Christmas message would seem to me, to be ‘good news of great joy to all people.’ Luke 2:10

May God bless you all,

Chaplain Don Richmond

 

 

Growing Together

2015 Opening Night with Lenetta Parry

Opening Night with Lenetta Parry

I think that it is fair to say that this 2015/16 edition of the West Kelowna Warriors hockey club has a huge upside with a ton of potential.

Yes…. I wrote that overused term: potential.  However I am convinced that with the combined size (which has increased substantially) and skill of this team, this is the kind of club that could be very difficult to play in a seven game playoff series.  The excitement of hockey is to watch this group of athletes begin to set aside all private agendas and buy into the team-first mentality.  And that, my friends is not an easy task.  What we are asking our Warriors to so is to grow together.  My dear old Dad, who is now 89 years old (and literally a walking miracle) has told me often, “Son, if we don’t hang together, we’ll hang apart. So we choose together, because we are better together.”  In the same way as my Dad was speaking of family, the principle is the very same with our Warriors club.

In our last Warriors chapel together, we talked about what faith in God means to the players, if anything at all.  (We have quite open and honest discussions in chapel, which I completely appreciate.)  We talked about how that when we are happy and celebrating, or down and discouraged, angry or tempted to be dishonest, or a host of other defining moments in our lives, how that faith in God provides a greater context in order to help us choose well in our times of crisis or need. I have found that a faith in God puts everything into a much bigger perspective, and that brings peace and purpose.  After all, we are all growing in our perspectives and hopefully we are Growing Together.

May God’s Grace and Peace be yours,

Chaplain Don Richmond

Great Start in Warriorland!

Here we are, already well into another Warriors season!  I am so pumped to be a part of what is happening this year in Warriorland….  It is really special.  One thing is for sure, I’ve NEVER seen such a big defence corps in my 16 years of chaplaincy in the BCHL.  These guys are huge!

Coming off of a very solid 2-win BCHL Showcase weekend in Chilliwack, there is cause for confidence and optimism. (Yes, it’s still very early, but confidence and optimism are always a good thing..)  As far as chapels go, I am pleased.  We have an awesome bunch of young men here.  We’ve had just a couple chapel times together so far, and I am convinced that this will be a good character year.  We have a great leader in Captain Kyle Marino, who I am very thankful for.  Kyle is so easy to work with, which makes what I do a real joy.  Thank you Captain Kyle!

I am looking forward to two annual Warriors events this season that I am responsible for; the 5th Annual Christmas Hamper Night which will be on Friday, December 4, and our 7th Annual Faith Night which is on Friday, February 19.

Please stop and say hello as we meet at Warriors games this year, it’s going to be a fun ride!

May God bless you all, with grace and peace,

Warriors Chaplain Don Richmond

6th Annual Faith Night 2015

2015 Faith Night posterWell, here we are, at the end of another regular season.  I find this the most exciting time of the year, when everything is on the line.  And it just so happens…. that one of the most important home games this season also falls on our 6th Annual Faith Night!  This Friday evening, the Chilliwack Chiefs come to RLP, and it’s pretty much a ‘must win’ situation.  With the Warriors fighting with Salmon Arm and Merritt for the final two playoff spots in the Interior Conference, one of the three teams will not make it into the post season.

On Tuesday, Feb. 17, I held our last regular season chapel, which was a real beauty.  We talked about true friendship, about the verse in John 15 which states that there is no greater love known than when a man lays down his life for a friend.  Of course, I related that verse to the love of Christ Jesus.  For myself, I really do love the guys on the team and when we finished with our huddle and a closing prayer, I felt a real close bond with the boys.  We have a great bunch here and looking back,  I am glad to have been able to hold chapels with our Warriors players for 9 full seasons now.

I am confident that our boys will play their very best on Faith Night Friday, and on through these last two weekends of the regular season.  Regardless of what happens, they will always know that I will never stop praying for them and for their families.

I am definitely looking forward to this coming 6th Annual Faith Night, with a large crowd and a great celebration of our Warriors chapel program and the greater Christian community we have here in West Kelowna.

God bless you all, and we’ll see you Friday evening at Royal LePage Place!

Grace and Peace in Christ,

Pastor Don

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