Abbotsford Heat prove to be a classy organization

I was absolutely blown away by the compassion demonstrated by Ryan Walter, his staff and the Abbotsford Heat hockey team.

Editor: On Friday (Feb. 17), my son Wyatt and I decided to drive out to Abbotsford to watch an Abbotsford Heat hockey game. We drove out and found ourselves in our seats for the 7 p.m. start time.

Thirty seconds into the first period, I received a phone call from my wife advising me that Wyatt had a blood test earlier in the day as he was suffering from a continuing thirst. The results were in, and his blood sugar level was through the roof. There was a great concern for Wyatt’s health at that time, and I was directed to attend Abbotsford Hospital emergency immediately.

I looked at Wyatt, and asked him how he was feeling. He replied that he felt fine. This did not mesh with what the doctor had said, who thought that Wyatt should be noticeably unhealthy. At that point, I was under the impression that someone must have made a big mistake.

Wyatt is extremely fit, working out in the gym every week, doing core training, skate treadmill and never with a complaint about hard work. On his own, he elevated the core work (stomach exercises) provided to him and has to be in the top one or two in the weekly running tests at school.

We left the game and went to the Abbotsford Hospital, where it was confirmed that Wyatt did in fact have Type One diabetes and will be insulin-dependent.

The first round of recognition goes to the Abbotsford emergency and pediatric staff. At a time when everyone seems to be complaining about the medical system, Wyatt and I dealt with a group of medical staff who were absolutely amazing.

They were patient, sympathetic, took the time to explain all procedures and went out of their way to make us feel comfortable in an otherwise trying set of circumstances. The care was everything I could have imagined and I suggest the facility  rivals none in the Lower Mainland.

The second round of recognition goes to the Abbotsford Heat. While at the hospital, I was feeling badly for Wyatt, as we did not get to see the hockey game. I wrote to Ryan Walter, president of the Abbotsford Heat on their website.

I asked if the Heat would provide a second set of tickets for Wyatt to attend another Heat game, once he gets released from the hospital. I promptly received a phone call from one of Ryan’s staff, O.J. Pries, who confirmed they would make arrangements to have Wyatt attend another game once he is released from hospital care and feeling up to it.

Later in the day, I received an e-mail directly from Ryan, checking up on Wyatt and wanting to meet him at the game Wyatt attends, to see how he is making out.

As I was responding to the e-mail from Ryan, into the hospital room walks the Heat representative O.J., wearing a Heat hockey jacket. He came to the hospital to check on Wyatt and brought Wyatt a bunch of Heat memorabilia to cheer him up.  Also within the Heat bag of goodies was an autographed motivational hockey book, authored by Ryan and autographed to Wyatt, with a special message inside.

I was absolutely blown away by the compassion demonstrated by Ryan, his staff  and the Abbotsford Heat hockey team. What a class organization and a group of folks they are, for reaching out and supporting the communities that support them.

When I tell this story to my friends and family, I have a hard time finishing without having to pause once or twice to compose myself. I had always heard through the hockey community what a kind, thoughtful family man Ryan Walter is. This story is probably just another example of the impact Ryan has had on the people that he has touched along the way.

In closing, I want to express my gratitude to the Abbotsford Hospital and staff for the stellar treatment of my son. Secondly, I want to thank Ryan Walter, O.J. Pries and the Abbotsford Heat in helping my son Wyatt through a challenging set of circumstances that will impact on him for the rest of his life.

Barry Hicks,


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