Cape Breton hockey players plan 300-km trip to surprise hospitalized teammate

Cape Breton high school students were planning a surprise Christmas visit Saturday with their friend and teammate who is in hospital in Halifax recuperating from a serious car accident.

Spencer McNamara is a Grade 12 student at Richmond Education Centre/Academy.

He went through dryland training with his hockey team, but then the unfathomable happened. 

In October, the 17-year-old forward was in a serious car accident and suffered brain trauma. 

“Talking with the team the morning after was one of the more difficult things I’ve done as a coach,” said Robert MacDonald, head coach of the Richmond Academy Hurricanes and a math teacher at the school.

“But we believed in Spencer and we knew what kind of kid he was, and he was going to fight his way back.”

The Richmond Academy Hurricanes (left) joined players from Sydney Academy to raise money for the McNamara family during a fundraiser game at the Louisdale arena. (Submitted by Daniel Ross)

McNamara is already walking and talking, and recognizes family and friends. 

MacDonald and most of the Hurricanes planned to head to the QEII hospital this weekend — a three-hour drive away — to show their support.

“Just show him we’re still thinking about him, we still want him to be that leader guy,” said MacDonald. “Which he’s absolutely doing with his rehabilitation.”

They planned to surprise McNamara with a jersey emblazoned with an A, for assistant captain. 

Funds raised for family

“I’m sure [there will] be some tears and all that stuff, too,” said MacDonald. “But it’s all good because he’s greatly loved and we’re going up to show him a little bit more of that.”

Spencer McNamara is still considered a big part of the team. (Submitted by Daniel Ross)

The community has raised money for the family’s living expenses in Halifax in various ways, including a skating party, a hockey game and a GoFundMe campaign. 

McNamara is still very much part of the Hurricanes team, said MacDonald.

“His jersey hangs on our bench every game right now, and will continue to be there until he gets back.”

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