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Pair of young Deer Lake athletes form bond over an unexpected Christmas gift

Mason Campbell (right) and Drew Park have formed an unlikely friendship after Park used some of his birthday and Christmas money to purchase four gift cards as a present for Campbell. Prior to that, the pair had never met.
Mason Campbell (right) and Drew Park have formed an unlikely friendship after Park used some of his birthday and Christmas money to purchase four gift cards as a present for Campbell. Prior to that, the pair had never met. - Photo by Roxanne Ryland

Drew Park is a 10-year-old boy in the Deer Lake minor hockey system who spends every minute he can gliding around the ice with a puck on his stick.

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It can be on any stadium around the province or on the rink in his back yard — the little guy has developed a passion for the game and finds contentment sharing the ice with his buddies.

Mason Campbell is a 17-year-old Deer Lake native who is a crafty goal scorer with the Western Kings of the provincial major midget hockey league. He made the team in his final year of eligibility after he was cut from the squad one year earlier.

Both get plenty of use out of their hockey sticks. It is the one thing they have in common.

Now, a hockey stick has formed a special bond between the two.

Drew’s favourite player on the Western Kings is Mason.

After reading a recent article in The Western Star about Mason’s hard work paying off with a spot on the team this season, it got Drew thinking about recognizing the accomplishment of his favourite player.

Drew’s parents had recently purchased a new stick for him and that has always been a good feeling for him so Drew thought it would be great for somebody else to have the same feeling.

Drew celebrated his 10th birthday on Dec. 27. He decided to take $175 out of his birthday (and some Christmas money) to buy four gift cards for Sportchek and he purchased a nice card to go with it. Then he dropped it off to Mason’s home.

He didn’t know if Mason would prefer a new stick or some money towards a new pair of skates so he figured he would give gift cards and let Mason decide what he wanted.

“I really wanted him to feel the same way about getting something, like I did when I got my new stick,” Drew said. “I felt really nice after. It felt good.”

Mason wasn’t home when Drew went to drop off the gift cards. The two managed to meet for the first time when they got together for a photo on Drew’s backyard rink earlier this week. Mason was touched by the kind gesture of the young hockey player who hopes to play for the Kings one day.

As it turned out, Drew’s timing couldn’t have been better. Mason cracked his stick off last week, so he was going to need a new one.

Drew really tugged at Mason’s heart.

“I never had a kid look at me like that,” Mason said. “I think that’s what hockey should be all about. The kid just wants everybody who is playing the game of hockey to feel good about themselves.

“When there’s younger hockey players looking up to you I guess it makes you feel really good. It’s crazy that he picked me out of everyone he could have given it to,” he added.

Hockey is a game where the team with the most goals at the final buzzer gets two points. But, for Mason, the game reaches far beyond the confines of the playing surface when it shows people what magic can come from two guys who find happiness chasing a black disc around a frozen sheet of ice.

“It was phenomenal. I never did anything like that for anybody,” Mason said. “If I ever have a chance to do something good for that kid or any other kid I’m going to do it.”

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