Back in the day, Chad Beagle was a force to be reckoned with on the ice.
Earlier this month, the Rimbey businessman had a chance to relive those days when he was a young hockey player, living in Swift Current, Saskatchewan and playing for the Broncos.
Beagle began his hockey career with the Swift Current Broncos of the Western Hockey League in 1994.
He was 16-years old.
The teenager had never traveled very far from his hometown of Lomond, Alberta and the first year away from home was not easy. He missed his parents, his siblings and his friends and, of course, he missed his own hometown, his own turf.
But the young hockey player was not a quitter and so he dug in his heels, or, perhaps, more accurately, his skate blades and gave his new life his best shot, on and off the ice.
And, before long Swift Current became his home away from home and the WHL team, the Swift Current Broncos, became not only teammates, but dear and special friends.
He played with Swift Current for five years, the last two as captain.
Beagle, who was referred to as a heart and soul guy by WHL hockey announcer Regan Bartel, gave hockey his all.
“Despite standing just 5’ 9”, his tree trunks like legs compensated for his short stature, and his desire to win made him a favourite with his teammates and fans,” Bartel said in an article he wrote about Beagle when he played for the Broncos.
When Beagle received the phone call that he had been selected to be on the roster for the 19th edition of Scotiabank’s Hockey Day in Canada that took place in Swift Current, Saskatchewan earlier this month, he was thrilled.
“Going back after so many years was absolutely mind blowing,” he said.
Beagle, his wife Michelle and their children, Keegan, 13, Keston, 12 and Kacey, 10 arrived in Swift Current on Feb. 7.
“It was pretty special to me for sure and made 10 times more special to be there with my wife and children.”
Beagle barely had time to hook up with a few former teammates and was standing in line for the banquet when he was was asked to be the auctioneer for the upcoming auction.
“It was absolutely great,”he said. “Looking out in the crowd, it was pretty awesome to see some of my boyhood idols.”
As well as having the opportunity to hang out with former teammates, Beagle and his family rubbed shoulders with many NHL hockey greats.
The alumni and celebrity classic game was held Feb. 9 to a sold out crowd. NHL alumni, celebrities and stars included
Lanny McDonald, Darcy Tucker, Ron MacLean, Wendel Clark, Bobbi-Jo Slusar, Rob Niedermayer, Andrew Ference, Travis Moen, Ken Reid, Greg Schell, Regan Darby and Kyle Roosen.
Sheldon Kennedy, also in attendance, was drafted by the Red Wings in the fourth round of the 1988 NHL entry draft while playing with the Swift Current Broncos of the Western Hockey League (WHL). In the WHL, Kennedy helped the Broncos capture the 1989 Memorial Cup, and was named to the tournament all-star team.
Now, Beagle is back at work at his place of business, Bronco Feeds. But, for just a moment in time, he was able to go back there to the days of his youth when he was a young hockey player, far away from home, who had made it to the big leagues.
For Beagle, it was wonderful to go back and relive his past for a few, brief moments in time, and even though he is home now, one can be sure a piece of his heart will always and forever remain with the Swift Current Broncos.