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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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

Turning the Corner and Heading Down the Home Stretch

Let’s be honest; since the Christmas break, it has been a fairly rough ride for the Warriors.  With injuries and many other unfortunate circumstances (of which we’ve had more than a few), I think it’s only 5 wins since then.  HOWEVER, the good news is that we won our last game at home and we’re looking to extend that trend.  It’s now time in the 2014-15 season to turn the corner and head down the home stretch…..

I’ve always heard this saying, and I honestly believe it: it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish that counts.  I also believe that a good process will, more times than not, result in a good finish.  I’m convinced that in hockey, as in life, it’s about the process, so as we enter into the last month of the regular season, I am trusting that the process we have gone through will result in a great ending.

In my chaplaincy ministry, I try to encourage our team to resist shortcuts in their life process, whether I’m speaking about on or off ice stuff.  On the ice, we know that success is achieved because of a series (or process) of good solid hockey choices, and that same principle holds for our life choices as well.  It’s really in the greater process that we find the real victories.  In my Christian faith I am constantly reminded that I can trust God with the process, even through the roughest stretches, the toughest of trials and circumstances.  I am reminded to be thankful, even while going through difficulties.  In 1 Thessalonians of the New Testament, I read, ‘In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God for you.’  Notice that it doesn’t say FOR everything, but IN everything give thanks.  So……, I am reminded and determined to be thankful in spite of all kinds of setbacks, as all of us Warriors turn the corner in the final stage of the regular season and head down the home stretch.  It’s pedal to the metal time boys!

Thanks for reading my thoughts, and may God bless you all.

Chaplain Don

 

4th Annual Warriors Christmas Hamper Night

It almost Christmas. Do you know how I know?  In our house, both (yes I said both; we’re cutting down – most years it’s three!) trees are up and decorated.  Lorraine has the trees and the entire house decorated like a magazine, and then… there’s eggnog.  AND.. there’s mistletoe that hangs from the ceiling above the main entrance.  So, if I had just landed from Mars, and arrived at my house, I would know without a doubt that it’s Christmas!

One of the traditions that we have around the Warriors at this time of year is our Annual Warriors and Pastor Don’s Christmas Hamper Night.  This is when the club allows me as the team chaplain to collect donations at a home game in order to purchase food and assemble Christmas hampers for needy families in West Kelowna. This year (on December 5 vs. Salmon Arm) I walked out of Royal LePage Place with over $1,400!  With that money I was able to purchase enough food for 50 wonderful hampers.

I just can’t say enough about how our Warriors impressed me this week.  On Monday morning the team showed up at my office (which is at Evangel Church on Gordon Drive in Kelowna)  and we began to assemble Christmas hampers. Warriors Christmas Hamper Packing The boys wrote out 50 Christmas Cards, put all the boxes together and packed them all with food.  We then loaded the hampers into trucks and after stopping to pick up 50 frozen turkeys, we headed to George Pringle School in West Kelowna.  We delivered the 50 Christmas hampers to the school principal, John Mcmahon. These hampers are delivered by several elementary schools within a few days to 50 families.  Our Warriors served humbly, and didn’t show a hint of disinterest.  I was an absolutely fabulous time.

So….. give our boys a big applause, because they were on top of their game this past Monday.  God bless you boys, I pray that when you get your break that you all have a wonderful Christmas.  Serving is one of the pillars of Christian faith, and I believe we all pleased the Lord that day.  So, to one and all, I pray that you have a joyful and a peace filled Christmas.

In Christ’s love,

Chaplain D

The Heart Attack Gang

It is just me, or are many of you noticing that this Warriors season all about overtime?  Now I’m not a big stats guy, but according to my elementary math, after 24 games the Warriors have gone to overtime 10 times!  That means that over 40% of this season’s games have been decided by either 4 on 4 or 3 on 3 hockey!  How exciting! How stressful! It’s like an 11 week advertisement so far for Advil or Motrin!  We need a sign at the entrance to RLP which says, “Entering this arena for Warriors hockey could be hazardous to your heart!”

According to the same math skills as mentioned above,  (btw, I was never great at Algebra, Calculus or Trig) I believe that we are 5 wins and 5 losses in those 10 overtimes.  Also, whether the Warriors are at home or on the road, results in the extra sessions are pretty much an even split.  And of course the trouble with overtime is that both teams get points, so it’s difficult to put any distance between conference rivals in the standings when overtime is so prevalent.  Yep, this year’s edition of the West Kelowna Warriors Junior A Hockey Club could be labeled The Heart Attack Gang.

Speaking of Stress: None of our lives are exempt from it, in fact Warriors overtimes are most likely the least of the stresses that we face.  Stresses such as serious health, relational or financial issues can be incredibly debilitating.  I speak constantly with people who are barely hanging on to their sanity, trying the very best they know how to make it through their weeks and months.  Others try to appear as though everything is great, while inwardly they are dying.  Oftentimes this stress results in physical problems; showing itself in varying heart conditions, in headaches or depression.

Let me be clear here: much of our lives are filled with wonderful people and fabulous times.  For those times in my life I will never neglect to be truly thankful to my Lord.  However, great times are usually accompanied with a paradoxical twin, kind of like two parallel rails on a train track.  One track in wonderful and the other is struggle, and they both exist at the same time.  Within that struggle, I have always directed people to trust in the love and mercy of Christ.  I have found that in the real world that I speak to people about, Christ has proven to be such a Calmer of the storm and a Peace in turmoil.

Thanks for reading my Chaplain’s blog.  If you’d like to connect with me, my email address is drichmond@hockeyministires.org.  I’d love to have a coffee or a chat with you.  Meanwhile, let’s keep cheering for our Heart Attack Gang!

With Christ’s love,

Don Richmond, Warriors Chaplain