Mystery boy at Jets game gets reward

Gave Jets stick to younger kid

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He was the mystery boy.

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Opinion

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 05/12/2014 (2917 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

He was the mystery boy.

The older kid who, after a Winnipeg Jets win last month, had a Jets team-autographed stick land in his hands.

And then chose to give the stick to the littler boy for whom first star Mark Scheifele intended the prize when he dropped it over the boards into the stands.

KEN GIGLIOTTI / WINNIPEG FREE press Thirteen-year-old Evan Chartrand (left), the mystery boy, gets an autographed stick from Jet Mark Scheifele as a reward with Connor McDaniel (right) after practice Thursday.

He was the mystery boy who a Free Press reader insisted should be found and celebrated.

So why did he give the stick up?

And who is he?

* * *

His name is Evan Chartrand.

And Thursday at noon the soon-to-be 14-year-old was back at the MTS Centre with his parents as invitees to a Jets practice where they would be more formally introduced to eight-year-old Connor McDaniel and his parents. That was exciting enough for the two boys. What they didn’t know — what I instructed Danita and Rodney Chartrand and Chad and Susan McDaniel and not to their sons — was the Jets had a surprise waiting for both boys. And an extra-special one for Evan, whose choice in the moment came so naturally, that his parents didn’t know he had given the stick to Connor until they read about it in the Free Press. All Evan told his dad when he returned to their seats empty-handed was how he would never come closer to getting the prize stick.

That’s all his mum heard, too, until she read about what happened.

“I said, ‘Why didn’t you tell us that you had done this?’ ” Danita recalled Thursday as pucks whistled and whistles tweeted on the practice ice below.

“And he said he didn’t know. It was just something he was supposed to do. ‘It was the right thing to do.’ “

His parents may have been surprised he didn’t tell them what happened, but they weren’t surprised by what he did. His mum called Evan a gentle soul, and his dad talked about him being like a big brother to the smaller kids on the street on which the Chartrands live.

He’s always been a respectful boy. His parents raised him that way; the same way their parents raised them. They believe Evan’s attending Catholic and other Christian schools has reinforced that respect for others.

But back to the Jets game night and the decision moment that tested all of that. Evan recalled arriving first behind the glass at ice level.

“And then Connor slowly made his way down. And I thought, I betcha this guy is going to get a stick because he’s younger than me and the Jets usually throw it to the littler guys. And then Scheifele started skating over and I thought, ‘Oh, this could happen.’ And he threw it over and it bounced off the steps, off a cup holder. And I caught it.”

Did you think maybe it was your stick when it bounced right into your hand?

“Yeah, I thought, ‘Wow this could be my stick.’ “

Actually, that wasn’t his first thought: “The first thing I thought of when I caught it is, I looked at all the signatures on the stick, and I thought, ‘Wow, what a prize.’ But then Scheifele was looking at Connor.”

And Connor was looking at Evan.

“And I said, ‘You know what, this is yours.’ I said, ‘Here you go, bud.’ And I gave it to him.”

Evan can still see and hear what happened next.

“Then he started laughing and screaming and he ran up the stairs.”

I wondered how that made Evan feel.

“At first I was kind of upset. But then I realized I did a good deed. And he’s so happy. So I’m happy.”

As I watched them sitting together at the Jets practice, they looked about as happy together — despite their age difference — as two boys could be.

But they were about to get happier.

“Where are we going?” Connor said, as the practice was ending and the families were being escorted to an interview area near the team dressing room. Where they really were going was to meet Scheifele, who had something to give Evan. It was a team-autographed stick, just like the one he once held in his grasp, but gave away, because it was the right thing to do.

And now we all know who Evan Chartrand is. But then, we knew who he was even when he was still the mystery boy who needed to be celebrated. His selfless stickhandling told us that.

gordon.sinclair@freepress.mb.ca

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