The Louisiana IceGators held an essay contest in February where fans were encouraged to write about “My Favorite IceGators Moment Was …” or “What The IceGators Mean To Me”. Dennis Martin of Lafayette wrote about Opening Night 1995 and his was chosen as the top entrant in “My Favorite IceGators Moment Was …”. Joan Broussard of Youngsville, La. was chosen as the top entry for “What The IceGators Mean To Me”. Martin and Broussard’s essays were included in the third edition of IceGators Illustrated, the team’s official program. Following is Joan Broussard’s essay.
By Joan T. Broussard
Although I love hockey, the Louisiana IceGators mean more to me than just watching the games. There is a very personal connection between the IceGators and I. It began in October 2000 when I approached the General Manager, Jady Regard about conducting a raffle for Hospice of Acadiana. My husband, Brad had passed away five months earlier and was cared for by the Hospice staff prior to his death.
Just before Brad was diagnosed with cancer I began cross-stitching the IceGators logo. My original intent was to give it to the IceGators for getting to the Kelly Cup Finals. I didn’t complete the piece until after Brad’s death and then, found a new purpose for it.
I decided that I wanted to raffle the cross-stitch of the IceGators logo and with the generous support of both the IceGators organization and the IceGators Booster Club, who both helped gather more items, more than $12,000 was raised and presented to Hospice of Acadiana in an on-ice ceremony.
Yes, the IceGators mean a lot to me. But that’s not the end of the story. It was a year later when the meaning became even more personal. My daughter, Sarah and I decided to become a Host Family for one of the players.
One of the major obstacles I had in dealing with my loss was cooking. Without Brad to cook for, I couldn’t bring myself to shop for groceries or plan meals. It wasn’t until we were given a host player, Nathan Rempel that I began to overcome that obstacle.
He came into my life just when I needed to have someone to cook for and fret over. He gave me a reason to venture out of my grief and rediscover my love of cooking. Feeding him is one of my pleasures. I extend my warmest thanks to him for having room in his heart to receive me as his “Louisiana-Mom”.
Nathan is now part of our family and I love cooking for him. I believe we have developed a relationship that goes beyond hockey. We have visited him at his home in Winnipeg and have gotten to know his family. I trust that we will be a part of each others lives for many years to come.
Some people come into your life for a lifetime and some for only a season. Some people leave a lasting impression on your life and a profound mark on the path you are to follow. The IceGators and especially our host player, Nathan, are those kinds of people.