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Cloverdale hockey coach awarded trip to Edmonton to see Canucks’ playoff game

Canucks nominate Sheldon Bailey for Air Canada’s Fan Flight Program

Cloverdale’s Sheldon Bailey got the surprise of his life the other week when he was awarded a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Sheldon was nominated by the Canucks for Air Canada’s Fan Flight Program. He volunteers his time coaching with the Cloverdale Minor Hockey Association (CMHA) and with Lord Tweedsmuir. The program sees deserving fans whisked away to watch their favorite team battle it out on the road.

He said he had no idea what was happening when Air Canada and the Canucks showed up on his porch. At first, he thought his wife Christine had signed him up to help coach for another team or something.

“I was just in disbelief.”

Instead, Fin—the Canucks’ mascot—and reps from Air Canada and the Canucks told him he and his wife were going to Edmonton that same day (Sunday, May 12) for Game 3 of the Canucks-Oilers series.

Sheldon said the trip was amazing. Because he was travelling the same day, he said it was a bit of a whirlwind.

Both the Canucks and Air Canada provided him with a “first-class” experience, he said. They drove Sheldon and Christine to the airport, gave them new jerseys, and supplied all their food.

“(They) took care of all the details,” he explained. “I’m speechless when I describe it because it was just a surreal experience.”

He said the game was nothing to shake a stick at either after the Nux skated to a 4-3 victory.

“The game, itself, was perfect with the win,” he added. “Really cool atmosphere there too.”

He noted the whole experience ranks up there with some of his life’s biggest milestones.

“Just the way that it all happened where, like I say, surprise, and then I’m there, and then they get the win—I couldn’t have asked for a better day—like my kids being born, being married, and maybe that.”

Sheldon said Christine was instrumental in making the surprise work.

“They reached out to her and she managed to sort of set it all up and get all the ducks in a row that allowed me to go,” he explained. “It was just such a special day in terms of that because like, you know, it’s, I don’t want to say embarrassing, but you know that when you’re a die hard fan and you get an opportunity like that, it’s just like, crazy.”

Sheldon was the head coach for his son’s U7 team and an AC with his other son’s U9 squad this past season with CMHA. He was also the head coach for Lord Tweedsmuir. He also teaches at Tweedy.

“I’m just quite involved, sort of, within minor hockey,” he said. “Helping out with some development skates and stuff like that. Just volunteering my time.”

Sheldon has been part of CMHA for almost 40 years, having grown up playing in the association and now coaching his sons there.

The Vancouver Canucks had originally reached out to Craig Sherbaty, the director of hockey operations with CMHA, and asked for the names of few deserving hockey coaches and the Canucks took it from there.

Sheldon said he can’t thank Air Canada and the Canucks enough for the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

“I’m one of many deserving guys that put in so much time,” he said. “Like, so many guys I’ve worked with or coached with or whatever, you know, are just as dedicated and capable and everything like that. So, it was quite an honor to be selected. But one of several that I think deserved to go.”

—with files from Tom Zillich.

Malin Jordan

About the Author: Malin Jordan

Malin is the editor of the Cloverdale Reporter.
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