Two community organizations scored more than $50,000 after fundraising efforts by the Prince Rupert Minor Hockey Association and Prince Rupert Regional Hospital in an evening gala on May 27.
A number 16 jersey of Kaleb Dahlgren, a Humboldt Broncos hockey team survivor from the 2018 bus crash in which 16 of his fellow team associates were killed, netted the highest bid. Rupert Wood and Steel, jointly with City Furniture, took home the jersey with the evening’s most coveted item at $8,000. As a surprise hat trick, three more jerseys were pulled from a hidden stash, each receiving two $3,000 bids and one $2,000 bid.
Proceeds from the evening ticket sales, of which 160 people attended the Highliner Hotel, the live auction, dessert auction and a silent auction will be split 50-50 for hospital equipment and the minor hockey association.
Dahlgren, a recent author of his autobiographical memoir, “Crossroads,” detailing his recovery after suffering a traumatic brain injury from the accident, was the keynote speaker during the night and focussed on positive messages of moving forward.
“For me, I forgave. It was one of the biggest steps in my healing,” he told the audience. “Forgiveness takes less hate and anger.”
The hockey player said he realized early on in his recovery that he had to “live big” and seize life because he was now living for his hockey brothers that weren’t.
His first skate back on the ice was two months after the April 6, 2018 crash, but he has not been able to return to playing hockey or reach his previous goal of playing internationally due to his injuries.
Since the incident, he tries to attend every event that he can, which has led him to often be outside his comfort zone because each interaction with people creates uncertainty for him. Some are supportive, he said, but others “trauma dump.” He likened regaining his mental health to losing weight.
“Losing 50 pounds of physical weight is an amazing feat. I had 50 pounds of mental weight to lose.”
The motivational speaker shared that he doesn’t like the spotlight and several times turned down offers to write his story in a book. However, he realized he wanted to see change around him.
“If you want to change the world, then it starts with you,” he added. “I can still make an impact not playing the game.”
He encourages people to do a good deed each day for someone else because it creates a ripple effect and there are some mantras he tries to live by each day.
“Focus on the things you can control. Live with gratitude. Find strength in being vulnerable and enjoy the grind,” Dahlgren said.
K-J Millar | Editor and Multimedia Journalist
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