Whitehorse Daily Star

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POST-GAME MEETING – Travis Hamonic, left, and his wife Stephanie, right, pose with Sherrie and Aiden West after the Calgary Flames game Saturday. Aiden was one of three youth chosen for the Travis Hamonic Community Program.

Yukon hockey player chosen for trip of a lifetime

It was a trip of a lifetime for 10-year-old Aiden West.

By Dustin Cook on February 20, 2018

It was a trip of a lifetime for 10-year-old Aiden West. He returned home to Whitehorse from Calgary Sunday night with a signed Calgary Flames jersey, signed hockey cards of many Flames players, three very special hockey sticks and a new friendship.

West was chosen for the Travis Hamonic Community Program and along with his mother Sherrie had the weekend of his life in Calgary to meet the player and take in his first NHL game.

“It was super exciting and super fun,” Sherrie said after the two returned from their trip. “We flew out and got there and it was just awesome, we had so much fun.”

It was the first time in Calgary and the first NHL game for both, and an experience they will never forget.

“I was kind of amazed because I read about things like this all the time and it’s usually my son is just too young or maybe too old or too far away,” Sherrie said of the opportunity.

Through his program, Flames defenceman Hamonic invited communities to nominate Aboriginal youth for the opportunity and through that three were selected for the trips.

Hamonic is Métis and started the program to give back. To be eligible, the applicants had to be Aboriginal and between the ages of six and 17.

With three different trips, Sherrie said Hamonic chose someone from each northern territory with the first two in December and January featuring youth from Nunavut and N.W.T.

It was a quick turnaround for the West’s who found out Aiden was the Yukon selection for the February trip last Monday. And they flew to Calgary on Friday.

Sherrie said she found out suddenly, after completely forgetting about entering the contest, through a phone call from Calgary.

“Travis answered and as soon as I heard his name I was like oh my god that contest, I totally forgot about it,” Sherrie recalled.

With Aiden having no idea that he was nominated for this opportunity, it was quite the whirlwind weekend for the young Whitehorse hockey player.

Although the Flames lost the game, Aiden and Sherrie wound up on the jumbotron with their sign “All the way from the Yukon” and were on the national CBC coverage of the game.

Aiden met Hamonic after an early morning practice ahead of the game as well as after the game with his wife Stephanie.

West received a signed jersey from Hamonic as well as his two sticks from the game and a team stick.

“I was kind of nervous at first and he signed all my hockey cards,” Aiden said on meeting Hamonic.

“We got quite a few members of the team in the hockey cards and Travis made sure every single one of Aiden’s hockey cards got signed by all the players,” Sherrie added.

Sherrie was made aware of the contest opportunity through Big Brothers, Big Sisters Yukon of which Aiden is a little brother in the program.

She said she was emailed a pamphlet with the details by Elisabeth Lexow, the mentoring co-ordinator for Big Brothers, Big Sisters Yukon.

The organization helped Sherrie complete the application to nominate Aiden.

“He was the only participant within their program that played hockey,” Sherrie said of the organization’s involvement in entering Aiden for the contest. “They thought that it was a great fit for Aiden.”

Their first time in Calgary, the duo spent their time away from the rink exploring the city.

“We were busy the whole time we were there,” Sherrie said. ‘We wanted to make sure we did a lot of things that were once in a lifetime things to do.”

What was one of the most exciting moments for Aiden?

“We saw quite a bit of fights,” Sherrie said of the game. “Aiden got really excited when he saw Travis get into a giant fight.”

“He won also,” Aiden added. “His opponent didn’t lay a punch on him.”

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