NEW GLASGOW – Hockey players who have been teammates and opponents of Braden Ross remembered him as they donated blood last week at a Canadian Blood Services event at Summer Street.
The players included those who, like Ross, are students of North Nova Education Centre in New Glasgow and students from Northumberland Regional High school in Alma.
Canadian Blood Services provided a special time between noon and the official 1 p.m. opening time last Wednesday for Northumberland students to give blood, and 23 students seized on the opportunity.
North Nova students were offered the same time on Thursday but schools in the region were closed due to poor weather.
Undeterred, several North Nova and Northumberland students showed up on Thursday during regular hours to donate blood.
Ross is sidelined from playing hockey while undergoing treatment for a form of leukemia and awating a bone marrow match to aid his recovery.
“I’ve played with him since peewee,” said Michael MacGillivray, a forward with the Northumberland Nighthawks who was donating blood for the first time. “He’s a good guy. He needs the help, so we’ll see how this goes for Braden.”
North Nova student Oliver Schnare remembers Ross as a friend and teammate.
“He’s one of my best friends,” Schnare said. “I visited him two weeks ago. He’s doing well. He’s still the same Braden.”
Jake Martin said he was thinking of Ross as he donated blood for the second time.
“I’m just trying to do what I can to help,” he said. “We’ve played peewee, bantam and spring hockey together. He’s a good guy, a super funny guy. He’s physical, a big fan of hits, and he has a big shot from the point.”
Weeks Major Midgets’ general manager Tony Conway acknowledged the many friendships Ross has had with players in various divisions of hockey, as well as rugby.
“He’s a very personal guy,” Conway said. “He’s a phenomenal rugby player.”
Conway helped organize a bone marrow matching session in conjunction with the annual Nova Scotia Major Midget Hockey League awards presentations on February 16 in New Glasgow. All eight league teams were represented for the event that preceded the start of league playoffs.
“I reached out to all the teams and they were delighted to take part,” he said. “Everyone was tested who could be, including some of the coaches.”
Wendy Lee, a donor care associate with the Canadian Blood Services, checks in with Jake Martin as he donates blood at Summer Street. (Goodwin photo)