It’s out with the old and in with the new, but before the calendar turned to 2014 there was some pretty big news coming out of Prince Albert this week.
The first was the pair of trades orchestrated by the Prince Albert Raiders last weekend.
I have to admit I haven’t been very supportive of a lot of deals that the club has done in recent years, but these two were brilliant.
I have absolutely nothing against Mike Winther, but it certainly looked like a change of scenery might be in his best interest and with him going closer to home I have no doubt he will finish his junior career in fine fashion with the Calgary Hitmen.
Getting Calder Brooks, plus an all important second-round draft pick, was a steal as Brooks will be a huge asset for the team as they make a push for a playoff spot.
The other deal, which saw Dylan Busenius go to Saskatoon along with a pair of draft picks in exchange for Collin Valcourt and Ryan Coghlan was another beauty. Busenius has four years of experience in the Western Hockey League, but he never found his groove with the Raiders since coming to Prince Albert on New Year’s Day last year. That trade was one I questioned right from the start and seeing Busenius move to his third team in two years kind of puts that to rest for me.
Valcourt is a big power forward who will definitely help the Raiders and Coghlan is just 18 so he has a lot of time left in Prince Albert. Prince Albert got bigger and better defensively with the new players, which is what is going to be needed going into the stretch run.
The next bit of news I want to talk about has a personal tinge to it as the canteen at the Victoria Hospital is closing down with the only proprietors that facility ever knowing being the Lederhouse family.
My uncle Phil started running canteens back in the 1950s starting first at a government building before moving to the old Victoria Hospital and later to the new Vic and the Holy Family Hospital.
His wife, my aunt Ruby, and their children Bryan, Grant and Linda all took turns working at the facilities, but since uncle Phil passed away and the Holy Family closed down, it has been just my aunt and Bryan working at the Vic for the last number of years.
An accident late last year that forced Bryan to the sidelines more or less made the decision for the family to close up shop as my aunt is way beyond her working years and Bryan just couldn’t possibly continue running the canteen.
While I am disappointed that the hospital doesn’t want to find someone else to run the business, it isn’t a surprise. In this day and age, space is at a premium in a medical facility, but the canteen, in my opinion, was a nice touch.
It was unique simply because of who my uncle was and my aunt is as both were blind. Everybody knew who they were and they knew everybody. It always floored me, whether I was helping Bryan in recent years or just visiting with uncle Phil at the Holy Family canteen many years ago, how they recognized voices immediately. They might not have talked to someone for a period of time, but as soon as that person dropped by and started talking both uncle Phil or aunt Ruby could identify who they were and then start cracking jokes.
Bryan, too, got to know so many people and from spending time in the last two months filling machines for the family at the hospital I can’t even count how many times I was asked how Bryan is doing.
It is the end of an era and something that will truly be missed at the hospital. But, for 60 years, the canteens supported a pretty amazing family.
Finally, I just want to say congratulations to Lyle Karasiuk for being named Prince Albert’s citizen of the year.
There are a lot of worthy people in this community deserving of the honour and Lyle certainly is one of them.
He is tireless in promoting public safety in the community and although some might argue that it is part of his job with Parkland Ambulance, his dedication to the community goes far beyond his role with the emergency services industry.
Lyle worked hard with Trevor Dutchak in raising money for the Pineview Terrace furnishing campaign and he is involved with Shelter Box, the Relay for Life and many other great causes.
I went to school with Lyle many years ago and it is nice to see a changing of the guard where people my age are getting recognized. Or, maybe that just makes me getting a whole lot older.
Dave Leaderhouse is a reporter with the Prince Albert Daily Herald.