I grew up playing hockey in the rugged town of Lillooet. I was 11 years old when our favorite WHL team, the Kamloops Blazers played the Victoria Cougars in Lillooet’s “new” arena. You could imagine how big of a deal it was to have such high level hockey come to town so everyone showed up.

After the game, I was playing around by the benches and found a perfectly good stick from behind the visitors sign. There was nobody around so I grabbed it. My friends and I were playing around with the new found stick and a tennis ball out in the parking lot, when I hear: “Hey! That’s my stick!”

I must have looked like a deer in the headlights because, I thought I was gonna catch hell for this one. I stood there dumbfounded and quickly tried to make amends by asking him if he wanted it back. He told me to hold on as he went aboard the bus. He came out with a black marker and signed: “To Gavin: Good Luck and Best Wishes, Brad Lukowich.”

He asked me what position I played, and I proudly said defense. He said “That’s good now you play tuff as Sandpaper out there no matter what.” The message stuck with me all through hockey and small town life.

At 28, the dream is long over but the message carries on. I still play tough as Sandpaper. Over the last few years, I’ve earned the nickname ‘Badger’, ferocious and light weight. I also still have the Bauer Supreme stick in mint condition. Nice to see ya back in BC, hopefully for Cup # 3.

Good Luck and Best Wishes,

Gavin the “Badger” Smith


Last night’s hockey fight:

I got pumped in the face pretty good last night at hockey.

It all started when one of their D men played me up high. I gave him a shot to the dome, and he answered back with a slash across my waist with his stick. I grabbed him in a head lock and gave him a pile driver into the ice. He squirmed around pretty good but I kept his head held tight until the refs pulled me off.

I had just gotten out of the box for that penalty when I moved along the boards to break out of our zone. Another one of their players hit me directly from behind into the boards, right in the numbers.

I answered that with a spinning haymaker that got the side of his head. We started to clutch and grab at each other. He was pretty strong and so he pulled me out of the scrum of players and tried to roll me over his back. As this happened I got my balance and kicked his legs out from under him instead. This led to a full backward body slam for him in the other direction.

His helmet exploded off with the impact. I grabbed his nice long hair with a fist and started banging his head and face off the ice. This is when the first of about three solid rabbit punches landed in my face. I tucked my head into my chest like a turtle as the punches came pounding in. I had to absorb them with my face because I didn’t want to let the guy go that I had in my grasp. Other wise I would blocked the shots with my arms.

The punches only lasted a few seconds because as soon as my D-partner saw the 3rd man come in he came flying in too. He loaded a punch and landed a bomb right through the guy’s face. They both blew right off the top of the dog pile and on to the other side of the scrum. Everyone on the ice was wrestling.

The guy I had by the hair was screaming for me to let him go. My girlfriend who was watching the whole thing from across the rink said she could hear someone screaming to “Let Go” she was really embarrassed because she thought it was me that was crying.

Sticks gloves and helmets littered the ice. Just then the ref yelled; “Get the hell out of here, you’re done for tonight.”

My nose was blown open and I received a real nice shiner out of the deal. What a hectic series of events in an otherwise ordinary Wednesday night.


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