If there was ever a reason to be proud of being from a small town, Thursday night was just it.
It’s been nearly a month since 17-year-old Jordan Chippett was diagnosed with leukemia, and the support has been tremendous. From organized leukemia awareness days, to selling bracelets and t-shirts, to making “get well soon” cards, the community has rallied around the Chippett family.
And Thursday night was the pinnacle of it.
What seemed like the whole town of Botwood showed up at the Harry Ivany Arena to showcase their support, and to watch Chippett’s Botwood Collegiate Warriors take on a team put together by the RCMP.
As soon as you stepped through the front door, you were mobbed with a throng of people lined up to pay admission. In what was probably the most common phrase of the night, many said “keep the change” as they handed members of the Botwood Collegiate student council their money for the three dollar admission.
Just inside the arena doors, more student council members sat at a table selling t-shirts and bracelets. The shirts, all white with an orange ribbon and an orange #7 on the back, sold like hotcakes. Starting out with two boxfuls, the students had one measly stack of them left by night’s end. The orange rubber bracelets were inscribed with “Get better captain”, alluding to Chippett being the leader of the Warriors hockey team.
The game featured a good-natured, slapstick affair between the high schoolers and the local police.
Several of the Warriors players donned homemade pig’s heads on their helmets, as a hearty jab at the opposing team.
“It’s always nice to see someone stick it to the cops,” one spectator chuckled after a Warriors goal by one of the pigheaded players.
The police retaliated with their “play” on the ice, at one point dragging down Warriors forward Noah Brace, and handcuffing him to the goalpost.
Officer Duane Paul led the play on the ice for the RCMP team, as the gargantuan cop went on end-to-end rushes and didn’t let up on anyone. He drew the ire of the crowd when he squared off against two Botwood Collegiate players, Joe Parmiter and Brett Butler. The crowd roared with laughter and cheers as the two students took Paul down and hauled his jersey up over his head.
However, Paul didn’t just lead the play on the ice. Off the ice, he was one of many people responsible for co-ordinating the event.
“Jordan’s a friend of the family’s,” Paul said. “We know him pretty well, so we just threw something together.”
Throwing something together is a modest way of putting it.
The event was put off by co-operation between the student council, the RCMP, Botwood Collegiate, the Harry Ivany Arena, and many friends and family of the Chippetts. Together, they raised over $2,000 for the family and the Leukemia Association in just one night.
“I think it’s great,” said Paul. “The young fella is really involved in the community through sports and just about everything else, and the family is very involved in the community. It’s great to see some support back.”
In the end, the circus-style game ended in a 6-6 tie, with both teams coming together on the ice to pose for pictures.
The outcome was in many ways similar to the circumstances it was supporting. Nobody goes home a winner, but for one night, everyone leaves with a smile.
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