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Before Brad Ostrom Died

from Luke Fox of Sportsnet,

Brad Ostrom spent nearly 50 years coaching minor hockey, and played a key role in the development of some of London's best. Weeks before his death, he reflected on the lessons of a life given to the game.

Brad Ostrom spent nearly 50 years coaching minor hockey, and played a key role in the development of some of London's best. Weeks before his death, he reflected on the lessons of a life given to the game.
The hockey coach’s ball cap and glasses are all askew. His back is flat against the cold, hard ice in a rink somewhere in London, Ont. It’s autumn; a new season has arrived. He has fallen and is lying still, trapped in that moment where you swear you’re hurt but haven’t yet figured out where or how severely.

The year is 2005, and Ontario’s governing body of minor hockey has yet to mandate that coaches strap on a helmet before they take the ice and run kids through pylons. So Brad Ostrom, who’d been skating backwards keeping an eye on young Stevie Sanza’s one-timer just moments earlier, is now taking in the arena ceiling in an achy daze, having flipped ass-over-teakettle and landed with a crack. Once he gathers himself a bit there’s zero doubt in his mind he’s concussed.

That’s when the grinning face of his latest 14-year-old star centre, Nazem Kadri, comes into view hovering above and interrupts Ostrom’s view of the spinning stars and tweety birds. “Come on, Coach. Don’t be a pussy,” Kadri chirps, then glides over to the bench.

Ostrom knows he has to climb to his blades despite the fog, pain be damned. “You will regret that,” Ostrom tells Kadri when he arrives at the bench, reminding the kid who’s boss. “You cannot stay down this season. I got up, so you better get up.”

continued

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