An organic game of pickup basketball and floor hockey was just what the doctor ordered for a group of Williams Lake and 150 Mile House friends this past week.
After recently returning home from their respective university hockey seasons, brothers Chase Dubois and Daine Dubois, and Landon Fuller, met up with longtime friends and fellow, former junior hockey goaltender Cody Call, and Colton Thomas, for an afternoon of fun on the courts outside at the 150 Mile school earlier this month.
Noticed by a group of after-school-care students, the boys simply invited them to join in on the fun, including them in basketball and hockey games, all while giving the students tips and pointers to improve.
“It felt just like we were little kids again,” Call said. “Me, Chase and Daine all went to school at the 50 from Kindergarten to Grade 7, so it was pretty cool. We were in their exact same shoes 15 years ago.”
Chase, Daine and Fuller each played university hockey this past season amid the COVID-19 pandemic — each attempting to make the best of the modified season.
Fuller added it was the first time the group of friends had been together since everyone returned home.
“They didn’t know we were hockey players or whatever — they just wanted to hang out, shoot some pucks and shoot the basketball around,” Fuller said. “When we were younger we’d look up to older guys so I think setting a good example is important.”
Fuller, a six-foot-five-inch, 225-pound defenceman — after beginning his junior career with the Western Hockey League’s Tri-City Americans and with the Kooteany International Junior Hockey League’s Salmon Arm Silverbacks and Sicamous Eagles – committed prior to the season to suit up for the Trinity Western University Spartans.
Daine travelled to the U.S. to play with the NCAA Division 1 Long Island University Sharks, while his older brother, Chase, returned to the NCAA Division 1 University of Alaska Fairbanks Nanooks for his second season.
“The season was OK, but we didn’t get a single game in,” Chase said of the pandemic. “I’ll be back up there next year, for sure, so just definitely looking forward to next year. We play a lot of road games against some big schools so it should be a good year.”
The students were members of Karlee Brown’s Karlee’s Kid Club at the 150 Mile school.
Brown, meanwhile, said she was absolutely blown away by the boys’ kindness and the way they handled themselves.
“They started bringing out their own sports equipment: basketballs, a shooting pad for pucks, hockey sticks, and the kids were like ‘these guys are actual athletes’ and they were really excited,” Brown said, noting she had about 14 children in her class on the day.
“They started out watching, then it became retrieving pucks for them, and then before you knew it they were shooting and playing basketball with them. They actually gave like a 45-minute lesson on how to shoot the puck, how to lift it up, and I just kind of sat on the bank in awe watching.”
She said her students absolutely loved it, and thanked the young men for going out of their way to brighten her students’ day.
“They played respectful music the whole time, not one of them swore, they were getting down to the kids’ eye level to talk to them. They didn’t have to do that. And they’re invited back any time.”