Bryce Salvador and his family are no strangers to southern Alberta.
The veteran of 786 NHL games retired last offseason after completing a hellish comeback from injury. The former Lethbridge Hurricane detailed his road back to the league in an emotional story on The Players Tribune website entitled “’Til it’s gone.” In that story, Salvador wrote of wanting his two young sons, Pierce and Hudson, to remember him as a player.
Retired less than six months, Salvador shared his story on the weekend with people in attendance at the Coast Hotel and Conference Centre tonight at the Hurricanes annual Celebrity Dinner and Auction.
He arrived in Lethbridge on Monday and was at Wednesday’s 4-0 shutout win over the Spokane Chiefs. He’s been hanging around the team, talking to the current group of Hurricanes and reacquainting himself with a rink that has never seen success like it found with Bryce Salvador wearing No. 8.
Salvador and his 1996-97 Hurricanes were the class of the Western Hockey League for much of the season. Salvador was in his last season in the league and the team finished with a 47-22-3 record, tops in the Eastern Conference. They beat Prince Albert, Moose Jaw and Red Deer before sweeping Seattle in the WHL final and clinching a berth at the Memorial Cup in Hull, Que.
There, they ran into a powerhouse host Olympiques team, which had also won the QMJHL playoffs that season. The 5-1 final loss to Hull was Salvador’s last for Lethbridge, but thanks to a lifelong friendship with his billets and his wife, April, being from Bow Island, he’s been back a few times.
“I’ve been back a few times, off and on,” Salvador said on Thursday. “My wife is from Bow Island, we met while I was playing here, so that’s a big part of the reason of Lethbridge being important.”
Salvador said Gerald and Bonnie Moench were his final billets in Lethbridge and his kids treat them like another set of grandparents.
School board addresses gender policy
A Lethbridge school superintendent has issued an open letter, as debate swirls around the province’s new sexual orientation and gender identity policy.
Cheryl Gilmore, superintendent of the 10,000-student Lethbridge School District 51, says there’s some confusion in the public’s understanding of policies laid out in the province’s current School Act, and the “recommendations of best practice” sent to Alberta school administrators earlier this month.
Provincial policy, Gilmore says, aims at “ensuring all students are provided with welcoming, caring, respectful and safe learning environments that respect diversity and foster a sense of belonging.”
That’s also been a Lethbridge board policy for some time, but Gilmore points out what’s new is Education Minister David Eggen’s request that boards expand those policies to include respect for diverse sexual orientations, gender identities and gender expressions.
The public school board has drafted a policy covering those concerns, she says. But it “does not specifically address individual issues or best-practice recommendations outlined in the recently released government documents.”
“We will endeavour to continue to engage our students, staff, school councils and other stakeholders in determining how these recommendations get implemented,” Gilmore says.
“This does not mean that all recommendations are implemented,” she adds.
The committee tasked to work on the policy and the procedures implementing it includes a school councils’ representative, she points out. Once the writing and reviewing is complete, the policy will be send to the school board for approval or amendment — and then forwarded to the education department for ratification.
City feels impact of downturn
The impact of the oil and gas downturn is being felt by Lethbridge residents in many different ways, and more needs to be done to reverse the damage being caused to the economy, said an industry representative on Wednesday.
Jeff Gaulin, VP of communications for the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, was in Lethbridge to provide an update on the state of the oil and gas industry in Alberta and beyond.
Gaulin was part of “International Opportunities Workshop: Taking Your Goods to International Markets,” a Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce event.
“There’s a lot we can do in Alberta to make the oil and gas industry healthier and more competitive,” he said. “And in doing that, we can create more jobs and create more government revenue.
“It’s something all people should be aware of.”
Gaulin said the effects of the industry are being felt directly here at home.
“There are more than 70 businesses here in Lethbridge that do direct business to the oilsands,” he said.
Reduction in oilsands production, then, affects those businesses directly.
Gaulin described a ripple effect of job loss where every job lost in the oil industry turned into two jobs lost elsewhere.
“Even if the jobs are lost in Fort McMurray, or Grande Prairie, or around Fox Creek, there will be jobs lost here as well, because there is less business.”
Support grows for poppy processing
A green light in Ottawa could soon signal the launch of a major industry in southern Alberta.
Premier Rachel Notley has added her voice to pleas from the Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce and the city’s post-secondary institutions to allow commercial cultivation and processing of thebaine poppies here.
Southern Alberta’s climate has proven ideal for the growth of the pharmaceutical poppies, required for the production of morphine, codeine and other high-demand medications. And the chamber says Lethbridge-based API Labs Inc. has determined the optimal seeding, fertilizer, pesticide and harvesting protocols since its first test crop in 2012.
Canada is the only G8 nation that doesn’t grow its own medicinal poppies, but chamber president Melody Garner says the new Liberal government is expected to open that opportunity soon. The Harper Conservatives were not supportive.
With a new government, “There’s an opportunity for the conversation to change.
“There’s a potential willingness for the (health) minister to sign off, for the pharmaceutical industry to grow in Canada.”