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Vees join pastor’s fight
Jamie Weberg is family to the Penticton Vees.
When Weberg, the Vees’ pastor, informed them he was diagnosed with a type of bone cancer that is incurable, but treatable, on Feb. 7 the news hit the team hard. It came before the Vees picked up a big 3-2 win against the Salmon Arm to snap a five-game skid against the SilverBacks. Vees defenceman Patrick Sexton said it was an emotional win.
“We wanted to do our best to kind of keep the attitude that he has been able to keep,” said Sexton. “Positive attitude and get a win for him.”
Whenever the Vees step on the ice against BCHL opponents, they do it while paying tribute to Weberg with a yellow ribbon with #DIFJ (Do It For Jamie) on the back of their helmets. Vees equipment manager Brendon Kerr came up with the saying.
Sexton described Weberg as a great guy.
“He’s an excellent role model. A lot of us look up to him,” said Sexton. “He’s been there for us this year. We wanted to do our best to keep playing for him.”
With several religious players on the team, Weberg is a source for them to talk to.
“We’re a really close knit team but Jamie is a really understanding guy,” said Sexton. “He has a lot of experience. He is just always there to talk to you when you need him.”
Now the Vees, fresh off a 6-3 win over the West Kelowna Warriors on Tuesday, are doing something to help the 35-year-old and his family.
Fraser Rodgers reported on his Three V’s blog that the Vees are donating 50 per cent of walk-up tickets sales from Friday’s game against the Trail Smoke Eaters at the South Okanagan Events Centre to Weberg’s family. A table will be set up for season ticket holders to make donations and the Vees have also reached out to the BCHL to have a recent fine handed to them be donated to the family instead.
Weberg said it’s unreal what the Vees are doing.
“When (Vees coach-GM and president) Fred (Harbinson) called and just said that they wanted to do something I was overwhelmed,” said Weberg, who loves hockey and played it for fun in his small hometown of Canwood, Sask. “I just went there and did my chapel every other week. Never really thought too much about it. I guess they want to give back a little bit to what I’ve done. I don’t feel I’ve deserved anything. It’s just nice to know that they just want to help.”
Harbinson said Weberg has been a huge part of the Vees’ family.
“He’s a great guy. It’s sad because here’s a guy that does everything the right way,” said Harbinson in an earlier interview with the Western News. “He does a lot of things for other people. That’s why we need to try to give back to him and his family. He has three little kids, a great wife. He’s going to give a good fight. We’re going to be there to fight along with him.”
Weberg said when he got the news hearing the word cancer was hard to take, especially because the doctor said he had 10 to 15 years to live.
“Being a pastor, being somebody who believes in God and has faith, I’ve seen a lot of people healed,” said Weberg. “I’ve seen things that God can do. I’m standing on that and hoping and believing and praying for a miracle and a lot of people are doing that too.”
Weberg became the Vees’ chaplain three years ago and enjoys working with the players.
“A lot of the time it’s the highlight of the week,” said Weberg, an associate pastor at the Church of the Nazarene. “A lot of times you are working with the church and in the church. This is just an opportunity to just step outside of that and go and be a part of something different. I just like it.”
Weberg, who has two kids, Emma, 5, and Jensen, who will be two in March, with wife Kristin, said Friday will be an emotional night.
“It will be just a time for thankfulness and gratefulness for what they are doing,” he said of the Vees.
Vees notes: Goalie Hunter Miska said it was a fairly easy decision to commit to the University of Minnesota Duluth.
“It was a dream come true, all that hard work, determination, and patience paid off,” said Miska, who will join the Bulldogs for the 2015-16 season. “As a young kid growing up it was a dream of mine to some day be able to wear that Bulldog on my chest. I have had many tournaments in the Duluth area and it is my favorite area in the state. Knowing I’m going to be playing there is a dream and soon coming into reality.”
Miska added that he couldn’t be more thankful for everyone who has supported him along the way and helped him achieve his goals.