VIDEO: Young B.C. hockey fan gets to hang with injured Ryan Kesler

Mackinkley Whalen, 11, wrote a ‘get well soon’ card to Ryan Kesler and got a heck of a surprise

One young Campbell River hockey player – and fan – recently had a very, very good day down in Anaheim.

Mackinley Whalen, 11, picked up on Ryan Kesler when he was a Vancouver Canuck. She wasn’t really a fan of the team – her parents are both Montreal Canadiens fans, after all – but she certainly did like “that number 17 guy,” she says, and when he was traded to Anaheim, her fandom followed.

“If he was traded to Toronto, I’d probably be a Leafs fan,” she says.

“No you wouldn’t,” interrupts her mom April, half-jokingly.

So when Kesler went down with injury earlier this season, she decided to write him a letter wishing him a speedy recovery and letting him know they were going to be down that way with tickets to a pair of games.

“At first I was sad that you will not be playing,” the letter reads, “but I just want you to get better soon. If you are around the arena for those games and feel like some popcorn I’m willing to share mine with you.”

The letter included her seat number for each game.

Apparently, April had added her cell number to the letter before it was sent, because she got a text message from Kesler letting them know he planned on joining them during the Ducks/Predators game Nov. 3. She didn’t tell Mackinley, though, because she thought it would be better as a surprise.

“It was so awesome,” Mackinley says. “He came down and I thought, ‘is this a fake person trying to tease me or a joke or something?’ but then he sat with me and had popcorn…and watched almost the full period with me.”

“He was so down to Earth and engaging,” April says. “He was genuinely interested in everything she had to say. Even my husband said, ‘I wanted to hate the guy, but I couldn’t. He was so nice.’”

The Whalen’s go down to the U.S. fairly frequently to watch hockey, because it’s actually significantly less expensive than going over for a game in Vancouver.

“We can fly down to Anaheim or Florida for a game and including the flights and hotels it’s still cheaper than going to a Canucks home game,” April says. “You can get into a game down there for like $16.”

And while they’re down there watching hockey, they can see some other things, as well.

“My mom made me go to Disneyland,” Mackinley says. “But I just wanted to watch hockey.”

Mckinley is quite the athlete herself. She plays for two local hockey teams – one mixed and one girls’ team – as well as being as burgeoning golfer. She is currently enrolled in a golf academy in Parksville with hopes to maybe one day become a professional golfer.

“But I’d like to play hockey professionally, too,” she says. “I like golf, but I love hockey. It’s my passion.”

 

Mackinley Whalen, 11, recently got to watch almost a whole period of NHL hockey with her favourite player, Ryan Kesler, because of a letter she sent wishing him a speedy recovery from his injury. Photo by Mike Davies/Campbell River Mirror

Just Posted

Retired Red Deer teacher launches first book for kids

Space Cadets takes kids on an imaginative journey into space

Grade six students showcase talent

C.P. Blakely students performed in a talent night recently

Photos: Figure skater wins bronze

Sylvan Laker Karlee MacMillan is the STAR 6 category bronze medalist for the Alberta Winter Games

Arashi-do team places well at championships

Stephanie Schmale won gold in women’s white belt in the under 140 pound division

SLIDESHOW: Fun and games had at Winterfest

Many came out for the annual winter festival on Sylvan Lake, Feb. 17

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Man accused in death of Winnipeg teen Tina Fontaine not guilty

Raymond Cormier was accused of killing Indigenous 15-year-old and dumping her body in the Red River

Canadian support split on Trans Mountain pipeline debate: Poll

Angus Reid poll surveying Canadians on pipeline stance finds no clear winner

Student protest outside White House a snapshot of American gun debate

Demonstrators take part in a student protest for gun control legislation in front of the White House

Feds can’t do much to fight fake news in Canada

Federal government can’t do much to fight fake news: Canadian Heritage documents

Canada’s Boutin wins silver in women’s 1,000 short track

Women’s 1,000-metre short-track speedskater Kim Boutin wins silver the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics Thursday

Alberta takes out full-page ads in B.C. over strained relationship

It’s the latest move between the two provinces over progress on Trans Mountain pipeline expansion

Toddler swept away in Ontario floods

Toddler missing as flooding forces thousands from their homes in Ontario

Most Read