Open letter to head coach and manager Darius Elias and assistant coaches Ron Daub and Greg Charlie of the Old Crow Gwich’in Braves and Gladiators teams:
It is with great admiration and appreciation that I write this letter to the editor of the Yukon News to let the Yukon know that I applaud your thoughtfulness and commitment to the youth that played in the 32nd Yukon Native Hockey Tournament.
It is with your kindness and enthusiasm that you took on the role to coach two youth teams representing Old Crow this year, the Gwich’in Braves and the Gwich’in Gladiators.
The youth ranged in ages 10 to 13 years old.
My son, Tyrel Kassi, had told me over the winter that he wanted his sisters and me to move to Whitehorse so he could play hockey with his cousins and friends. I had to explain that this could not be possible but then his cousin, Darius, came to Old Crow for a visit and invited Tyrel to come to Whitehorse to stay with his family.
After making his flight arrangements in February, my son was leaving home to play hockey in preparation for his first hockey tournament!
We shared a lot of phone calls during this time, as he adjusted to a new life in the city and a new school.
Soon the weekend of the Native Hockey Tournament was approaching and the excitement in my son’s voice was apparent. I was to be travelling down for his debut. I just about didn’t make it but luck was on my side and I was there to cheer him and his teammates on!
How wonderful it was to see all these youth working together and displaying their brand new jerseys!
Even though the two Old Crow teams played against each other one day, I and the other mothers were cheering on both teams!
Tyrel, number 21, came out of the tournament with a gold medal with his Gwich’in Braves teammates and also with the award Most Inspirational Player! His family in Old Crow is so very proud of him.
Tyrel is ready to come home now that he has accomplished his dream, and head to Crow Flats for a weekend trip with his dad. My son feels great about himself and this is why I write this letter, to acknowledge the great people who have taken care of my son during his stay in Whitehorse.
Mahsi cho from the bottom of our hearts. This is an event in Tyrel’s life that he and his family will never forget.