Roybal’s hat

Roybal’s hat

I haven’t used this web site to share personal stories, as this site is more for the photographic side of me.  But, this story needs to be told and I did manage to get a good photo to go with it.

rybal hat

When we were in the Edmonton airport something special happened.  Short story is that Brody Roybal is a class act.  The longer story is as follows:

My family and I were flying to Maui.  We had flown into Edmonton the night before so we could take a direct flight out of Edmonton to Hawaii in the morning.  The night before was the world sledge hockey championships (in Leduc Alberta), which was playing in the Saskatoon airport before we boarded our plane. My son is five, and is playing hockey for the first time this year. He is loving the sport and wanted to watch the sledge hockey at the airport, so I stayed near (but not in) the bar with him so he could see it while my wife and daughter watched a Disney movie.

The next morning we were waiting to drop the car seats off at the airport ‘oversized baggage area’ and there were a couple of guys in front of us in wheel chairs bringing hockey bags to the oversized area as well. It was a long line so we got to talking with them and found a few things: (1) they were Americans, (2) they did play in the championship sledge hockey game the night before, and (3) they won the game. We talked a little more, shared some congratulations and told them that my son passed up a Disney movie to watch them play and that he is loving his first year of hockey.

At that point, one of them offered my son his hat. Yes, the championship hat right off his head. Daniel is quite shy so he looked down at his toes and was speechless. I thanked him for the offer but politely declined saying that he is quite shy and we wouldn’t want to take such a special hat form him. As my son and I were walking away, he wheeled up and put the hat on Daniel’s head who couldn’t stop smiling. We found out that the player’s name was Brody, grabbed an iphone picture with him, said our thanks and went our separate ways.

Daniel wore the hat for 2 weeks straight in Hawaii, including while he slept. The only times it came off were windy days when we were afraid it would fly away, and while we were in the pool.  This photo of Daniel in Roybal’s hat was taken in the Maui airport, just before returning to Canada.  Daniel loves all things that fly, and was watching a helicopter fly by the runway when I took this photo.

I did a little internet searching and found out that Brody is actually Brody Roybal. He is a 17 year old high school student, and one of the top line players for the USA sledge hockey team, winning paralympic gold in 2014 and the championship in 2015. He is a congenital bilateral lower leg amputee, and according to his twitter page also surfs, horseback rides, wrestles and skis. A class act of a guy who recently received the inspirational athlete of the year award.

The interesting thing is that when I spoke to my son about this he had no idea that Brody had no legs. He noticed that he was in a wheel chair, but just thought he was a nice guy and a great hockey player.

I’d like to again thank Brody for being such a great guy, and for sharing something so special with my son and our family.