The man who gives the Bentley Generals their edge is grieving the disappearance of a precious memento.
Peter Leaney was as proud as punch earlier this year when team manager Jeff McInnis presented him with an engraved ring — his copy of the prize presented to players and support staff when the Generals beat Manitoba’s Southeast Prairie Thunder in double overtime to win their first Allan Cup.
Sir H. Montagu Allan had first donated the cup in 1909 as a national trophy for amateur hockey teams. It was to replace the Stanley Cup, which had become a professional competition.
While Leaney had already retired from his skate sharpening and bicycle repair business, he was invited about four years ago to become the skate technician for the Generals.
“They saw me in the arena one day and they needed some skates sharpened for the game, so I went back round to their dressing room and I’ve been with them ever since.”
The club built an addition to their dressing room for him and he travels with them to all of their games.
Leaney felt his heart sink last Tuesday when he discovered that his copy of the Allan Cup ring had gone missing somewhere between the Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre and he and his wife Mo’s home at the outskirts of Lacombe.
Dec. 22 was their 47th anniversary, celebrated by taking Mo into Red Deer hospital for a surgical procedure.
He remembers her waking up in the recovery room and asking why he had worn the ring to town. That was the last time either one of them remembers seeing it.
“I haven’t even told the insurance company yet. I’ve been so sick over this, you know, it’s devastating, really.”
Although the ring was normally very tight, Leaney believes it may have slipped off of his ice-cold finger while he was brushing snow off his car in the hospital parking lot.
He hopes someone has found the ring and will be good enough to return it. He describes it as a large and impressive piece with his name misspelled as “Leany” on the side.
If the ring cannot be found, Leaney plans to have a replica made, probably with his name spelled properly this time.
Otherwise, he’s counting on the Generals to make a second trip to 2009-10 Allan Cup next spring at Fort Saint John, B.C. The team is running hot again this year, having won 10 of its past 11 games, he said.