by Mike Brock
ASSIGINACK – Number 93 has always been there for an assist.
And, while his dominance might have made hard it for him to skate outside of the spotlight, Doug Gilmour was always able to make others shine. Never the biggest or fastest guy on the ice, the real energy that propelled his Hockey Hall of Fame career came from the “intangibles.” Leadership, fearlessness, generosity and a relentless effort to fill the gaps that needed to be filled.
Fill in the gaps.
That’s what Ronald Wells wants to do, as well. Mr. Wells has seen what can happen when there are gaps in a child’s life. Nobody there to encourage, to enhance, to engage. But, more importantly, he’s seen what can happen when there is someone there to fill in the gaps.
When he was in his late teens, he watched with his father (“the hardest working man I know,” says Mr. Wells) as Gilmour led the Toronto Maple Leafs to the conference finals in consecutive years. His dad pointed to No. 93 during those playoff runs, and said, ‘That’s it. That’s how you lead. That is how you succeed, and bring others along with you.’
And when the person you consider the hardest working person you know looks up to someone else for their hard work, well, only good things can happen. This is absolutely a story of a hometown kid “done good,” but it’s also a story of not just growing up to meet your idols, but to share with them the strengths that made them your idols in the first place. That’s when you know the connection is real.
Mr. Wells, with roots in Wiikwemkoong, branched out in Toronto. As the CEO of Cancom Security Inc., he has grown a small company into a national enterprise with over 1,200 employees and more to come. This past weekend all of his worlds collided, when Rainbow Ridge Golf Course in Manitowaning hosted the First Annual Cancom Security Golf Tournament, with Doug Gilmour on board as an ambassador. More than 150 golfers gathered on Saturday morning for the tournament at Rainbow Ridge, before congregating again at the Manitoulin Hotel and Conference Centre in Little Current for a banquet at the end of the day. It was a great day to hit the links for a good cause.
The benefactor of the funds raised through the tournament was Every Child Matters, and the dialogue surrounding the recent discovery of victims of the residential school system in Canada.
Dialogue is important as anything. Dan Hickey knows that. Mr. Hickey came from Sudbury to enjoy the day with his dad, Mike, and stepsister Elizabeth Fox. They are all Doug Gilmour fans, and, while the chance to rub shoulders with one of their heroes may have brought them to the tournament initially, they also understand the importance of keeping this conversation in the air. “A lot of stories, they come into the news, and then they go away after a couple of weeks.” Mr. Hickey says. “This isn’t one of those stories.”
Mr. Gilmour, a Kingston man through and through, knows the importance of having a good storyteller to keep the important things in focus, too. There have hardly been any better storytellers in this nation’s history than The Tragically Hip.
“I grew up with Gord Downie and the guys in the band. Gord was telling us this for years. What Gord was doing is what you guys have been telling everybody for the longest time. And this is something that has to be dealt with. It’s disgusting, and something that should have never happened. Everybody’s trying to tell us, and nobody listened.”
Mr. Wells had heard the stories his whole life, from elders and leaders. He agrees that the story needs to be told and listened to, “Now is better than never, and it’s about making it right. That’s all.” So, how does a golf tournament with a famous hockey player help make this right? It’s about getting people together and keeping the story alive. The tournament and banquet, thanks to generous sponsors and engaged participants, was able to raise $30,000 to keep the conversation going, especially in Wikwemkoong. The hope is that there are many more tournaments to come. Tournaments that will help fill the gaps.
This world is always going to have stories that need to be kept alive so that they never can be forgotten, and good voices, and educated voices, like Mr. Wells and Mr. Gilmour are going to be here to amplify them.
Mr. Wells knows how a golf tournament can help.
“The best way to prevent anything is to never forget what happened, so that history doesn’t repeat itself.”