By BlackDogPat11 months ago
This is a tough one to write.
In January 2006, I was trying to find some good writing about that amazing Oilers’ team. The MSM, then as now, wasn’t cutting it at all. Google led me to a site called Covered In Oil and when I finally stopped laughing I followed their links … I found mc79hockey.com, a site that combined smart narrative with a way of looking at hockey that I had never heard of before, written by a young lawyer Tyler Dellow. There was Battle of Alberta with Matt Fenwick and Hugh (I once had beers with sacamano and he was lovely and hilarious in person, as you would expect), and Andy Grabia. There was Irreverent Oiler Fans presided over by Vic Ferrari with plenty of guest appearances from Dennis King and Cam Thomson and the occasional one from a young fellow named Murat Ates. And finally, there was Lowetide.
A month later I had started my own blog and while I am not as prolific as I once was if you were to ask me how to describe myself I would say:
Father. Husband. Coach. Writer.
That spring I learned more about hockey and probably had more fun talking about hockey than I ever had before and after. The guys named above, the CinO guys – Chris!, Mike and Dave -, Colby Cosh, Erin Loxam, Brian King, Julian, Colin (Mr. Debakey) and so many others who I know that I am forgetting, It was a five-month conversation that then stretched on for years.
I had beers with Julian and Ellen Etchingham a couple of weeks back and saw Murat on a warm October night at Clinton’s. I have had hilarious nights out with Dennis, Cam, Hugh, Matt, Chris!, Mike, Dave, Colin and Colby. Andy hosted me when I made a trek out to Alberta years ago. And Tyler and I have been good friends for years.
My life has been so much richer because of what I stumbled on that cold January. I once met Bob McKenzie and he, Bob McKenzie, told me how much he loved my writing. Insane!
Vic Ferrari moved on and won a Stanley Cup with the Caps. Murat is the Athletic beat writer for the Jets. Tyler is a VP with the Devils. Matt and Brian are immortalized in stats that they created. Ellen is a scout for the Hurricanes. The CinO boys live in a large cardboard box behind my house. (I kid, Mike lives in the back room at the Horseshoe Tavern so he has easy access to the A&W robot burger dispenser. We have all grown older and had our adventures and I have some amazing stories about the relationships that I have built with so many of these people over the years …
And presiding over it all was the mensch. Lowetide. Lain. Allan Mitchell. Or as we all called him … LT. Ironically he is one of the few people I have never met although he had me on his show a few times to talk hockey which was amazing for a kid from Sudbury.
His is the only site still standing all of these years later. The most prolific writer I know. A kind man with a passion for his town team. A guy who welcomed me (and everyone with open arms). I remember when I started my blog, he immediately linked to it on his site and pointed people to it. (And man oh man was I bad lol).
Without LT I am not here. Without LT this site is probably not here.
LT loves the Oilers but as we read his stories over the years it was very clear that for LT first place in his heart was always held by his family. Stories of his parents, his kids and mostly about the love of his life. Mrs. Lowetide. 😉
An amazing mother and wife. A Riders’ fan. Wise and funny and an eye-rolling foil for when LT was being goofy. (And he is goofy). 😉
But if you want to really know what Jo-Anne was like, what her legacy is … well, you are engaged in it right now.
You are who you love and your life is shaped by who you love and who loves you and LT’s kindness, his sense of humour, his work ethic, his enjoyment of life, both the large and the small things, well that is Jo-Anne. Without the person that she is then LT would not be the person that he is. And all of these years of writing, all of the stories, the gentleman that Allan Mitchell is, the wonderful people that I am sure his kids are … these are Jo-Anne, just as Jo-Anne is LT.
What a wonderful legacy she leaves to us. All of the laughter and stories … and the kindness that we have all learned from LT … pass that along … that is her legacy. Honour her and her husband that way.
While we mourn our friend’s loss and comfort him in his grief let’s celebrate Jo-Anne and the life she lived and the legacy that she has left us.