Three old-timer hockey players who rescued a woman from the Thompson River will be recognized this weekend by the Lifesaving Society.
Tom Blair, Bert Kent and Bob Reid are among 24 people who will receive awards at a ceremony — the largest of its kind in Canada — on Saturday at the Hotel Vancouver.
In addition to the governor’s gold medal for the most heroic rescue of the year, each one will receive a silver medal for bravery.
Normally the cut-off date for such awards is the end of each year, but the society made an exception for a pair of Kamloops rescues that took place last month.
“This was such a good story and fairly recent,” said Dale Miller, executive director of the Lifesaving Society of B.C. and Yukon, said of the hockey players.
Members of the Old Dogs hockey team were finishing lunch at the Anavets’ clubhouse on Jan. 23 after a tournament game when they spotted a woman, who was attempting to retrieve a dog, break through a ledge of ice on the river. Using teamwork and quick thinking, the three risked their own lives to pull her to safety.
Reid said all of the publicity they’ve received for the deed is positive if it spurs others to take similar initiatives when people are in trouble, provided they feel it is safe to do so.
The award itself is not a big deal, he added.
“The big deal is she is still alive and, hopefully, someone along the way will do the same thing with the same result.”
Colleen Mulrey, a visitor to Kamloops when she rescued a distraught woman from the South Thompson River on Jan. 8, will be recognized by the society at a later date, since she is unable to attend Saturday’s Commonwealth Awards ceremony.
With ties to the Royal Life Saving Society, the Lifesaving Society is part of a Commonwealth network that has been teaching lifesaving for more than a century. Its mandate is to reduce water-related death and injury.
About 250 people are expected to attend the event, the 101st in the society’s history.