In July 1988, I worked for Canadian Auto Carriers in Calgary, Alberta as a truck driver carrying cars and trucks from rail yards to the dealerships. It was a good job, with no weekend work or night work. I also helped to coach a rep team of hockey Bantam kids 12 to 14 years.
There were three coaches, and the team was practicing to enter a tournament in Calgary. The winning teams would put on a show for the 1988 Olympics in Calgary. I had coached upper-level teams after taking coaching courses, and l played junior hockey in my youth. We were allowed 24 players and three coaches on the roster, and all the young kids in town wanted to be on the team. One day I was approached by a pee-wee coach, who asked if we could help one of his boys. This boy was 12 years old, and his Dad drove a truck, but on a recent trip to the USA, he had a heart attack and died at the border crossing. The boy’s name was Bradley Hunt, and he was having trouble dealing with losing his Dad. So I agreed to take him under my “wing.” I explained that our team was a rep team, and it would be hard to make a place for him, but if he was willing to work hard, I would help him with extra exercises and teach him how to eat properly, (no pop and candy) and he agreed!
We told the team that if we won the tournaments, we (the coaches) would arrange to get sports jackets with the Boston emblem, except it would say Bowness 1988 – an area of Calgary to the west. Each jacket would have the player’s name, and the hats would have the Bowness emblem on them. We all worked hard, Bradley spent extra time and work, and he enjoyed it. We won the tournament, got the jackets and hats and trophies, and we played in front of a crowd for the Olympics. I carried on hauling cars and lost track of Bradley, but I felt certain that he would be successful in life.
In 2017 I sold my trucks and worked part-time for Allan Dyke, a friend I had known for over 35 years. He owned a heavy haul company in Chilliwack, and one day he said he had an over-dimensional gravel screener that had to go to Fort St. John. It was to be at the Hydro Dam Site, 15 miles southwest of town, at precisely 4:30 pm on Friday. It was a Government site, so if it came earlier, there were too many safety rules to follow, and the equipment would have to be inspected. Our chains were the proper strength, and we wore safety vests, helmets and boots. If we were there at 4:30 pm, we could use two loaders to lift the screener six inches off the trailer, and I could drive out from under the screener. The loaders could then set the screener on the ground. All in all, we would be done by 5:00 pm.
Everything went well, and the boss had the men put the chains away on my truck. Then he stopped and looked at me with a really strange look. He said, “Where did you get that hat?” I told him that it was a very special hat and not everyone has one. He said, “I have one.”
I said, “Who are you, because only players and coaches have these?” He grinned and said, “I’m Bradley Hunt.” He said everyone calls me the boss, but I’d rather be called the foreman. So I told him my name and we reminisced for a short time before I had to get out of there. I drove away feeling great. Somehow I always knew that Bradley would be successful.