Goodbyes are never easy, and I find myself struggling to say just that right now.
I came to Red Deer four years ago looking to prove myself in a daily market, I leave now to take over the sports editor position at the Nanaimo Daily News.
There’s been some good times, some great times and even some bad, as there always are, but through it all I take with me memories that I will always treasure.
It has been an incredibly tough few years in the newspaper industry with major papers around North America laying off editorial staff by the boat load, while others filed for bankruptcy and others were shuttered for good. The Advocate has not been immune to the struggles of the times but we have persevered and still strive to put out the best product we could and push the boundaries. It’s something I am proud to have been a part of, especially to see the light at the end of the tunnel for the industry once again.
The role of the community paper will always be an important one even if the format changes, and the Advocate I am sure will remain at the forefront of that service in Central Alberta for years to come.
I will miss the people I have worked with, many of whom are the best I have been around within the newspaper industry, but most of all they were a true cast of characters.
I leave behind an active sports world that is consistently on the cusp of greatness in one sport or another often achieving well deserved national and international recognition.
The Rebels are on that verge once again. After going through a few years of frustration, they are knocking on the Memorial Cup’s door. Head coach and general manager Jesse Wallin and the rest of his staff have done a terrific job at developing some of the best talent in the WHL over the last few years with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins going first overall in the NHL Entry Draft and Mathew Dumba poised to try to do the same this year, among many others.
Keep up the good work, Jesse, especially with all of the work you do in the community and with the Canadian Mental Health Association.
RDC always seems to have at least one team ready to go to nationals, it’s a proud tradition that I am sure will continue. I look forward to running into their various programs down the road as I cover the Vancouver Island University.
Then there are the youth sports.
Red Deer and area has proven to be a powerhouse in developing some of the best young hockey players in the country, with the midget AAA Optimist Rebels a constant threat to go to the Telus Cup and the Sutter Fund Chiefs always one of the top teams in the Alberta Major Midget Female Hockey League.
The area is also rich in athletes who compete in individual sports, producing Olympians like Jeremy Wotherspoon, Mellisa Hollingsworth and Lyndon Rush and numerous world champions in other sports.
But there’s also the grassroot sports I have enjoyed watching develop even just in the last few years. I have learned much from covering them, especially cricket.
The Red Deer sporting community is a strength I think we sometimes take for granted, just because it is so plentiful.
I will miss it all.
I have spent almost my entire life in this province — outside of two years in Ontario when I was five and six years old — living in places like Drayton Valley, Carstairs, Calgary, Kitscoty, Edmonton, St. Paul, Lloydminster and of course here.
Alberta will always be my home.
But it’s time for a new challenge and a new scene. And temperate winters.
I will miss you all.