(By Don Brennan, Ottawa Sun)
Fred Brathwaite is from Nepean and is something of a storybook author in that he didn't even have a job a couple of years ago.
But if all that isn't enough, here's another reason to like the Calgary Flames' No. 1 goalie.
Midway through this hockey season a nine-year-old Ottawa novice by the name of Jordan Dale sent letters to each of the 56 NHL goalies asking them to reply with either a tip on puck-stopping or an autographed photo, or both.
The New Jersey Devils' organization fired back a fridge magnet or something, plus a subscription form for season tickets, and the Montreal Canadiens sent Jordan autographed pictures of Jeff Hackett and Jose Theodore.
Nobody else responded -- at least in a letter -- but Brathwaite went one step further.
He immediately tracked down Jordan's home phone number through directory assistance and placed a personal call to the boy. He ended up talking to him for about 20 minutes.
"Jordan was blown away," says his father, Ken. "When he hung up, I asked him what Freddy had to say, and he couldn't remember. He was still in awe. Jordan had a game later that day, and he's never played better. He was so focused. Fred Brathwaite made a Calgary Flame fan out of him."
Players get truckloads of such requests and answering them all is impossible. But all NHL teams should at least have somebody helping them with the duty.
It's the dream of many kids to play in the NHL and being recognized by their heroes is so very important. It can provide youngsters with all the encouragement and attitude they need to work hard enough toward reaching their goals.
Hats off to Fred Brathwaite for remembering that.
(Taken from the Ottawa Sun, May 8, 2000. Reprinted without permission. Feel free to link to this page as much as you'd like, but please don't reprint this elsewhere.)
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