By Fred Wallace
Bryan Bickell Saluted
Hi, this is Fred Wallace with " Off the Wire. "
I liked the tribute and spotlight that was accorded former NHL'er Bryan Bickell at the Awards Ceremony in Las Vegas this year.
Bickell who played in the Ontario Hockey League at Ottawa & Windsor, has been forced to give up hockey as he deals with multiple sclerosis.
The salute, the video and the moment were among the highlights at the NHL Awards night.
Still, as I watched it unfold though, I couldn't help but giggle at an amusing moment from Bickell's past.
In the 2005 OHL Playoffs, Bickell and the Ottawa 67's were matched against the Peterborough Petes in the Eastern Conference Final.
Peterborough was the higher ranked team based on the regular season standings, so the 67's were motivation.
But the Petes, and the entire Kawartha region, were also motivated.
Bickell is from Orono, Ontario, about a 40 minute drive from the city of Peterborough and when he was asked about playing in a big series so close to home, Bickell related that, in his opinion, Peterborough was " a hole ".
You can imagine how well that went down with the Petes fans who were irritated to say the least.
They were further irritated in Game 3 when Bickell scored twice for the 67's who were on their way to a series sweep.
In the post game interviews, Bickell sat at the podium with his coach, the legendary Brian Kilrea.
Naturally, a member of the media asked Bickell about his disparaging comments about Peterborough, but before Bickell could dig the hole any deeper, Coach Kilrea jumped into the equation and barked, " he likes Peterborough, it's a great city, don't you, Bryan ?! "
It was a cagey move by the cagey Kilrea to keep the flames from getting hotter with another game still to be played in a playoff series not yet won.
Bryan Bickell will be a prominent face for those facing multiple sclerosis.
However, the image of 67's Coach Brian Kilrea doing damage control for a teenage Bryan Bickell and the look on Bickell's face a decade ago still remains vivid.
I'm Fred Wallace