Goose Bay man meets lifelong hockey idol Bobby Orr
© Submitted photo
Darrell Bennett of Happy Valley-Goose Bay recently got the chance to meet his hockey idol, Bobby Orr. What started as just a request to get some hockey sticks autographed.
What started out as a seemingly simple request to get some hockey sticks autographed, instead turned into a rare opportunity to meet a hockey legend.
Meeting his lifelong hockey idol, Bobby Orr, was not something Darrell Bennett had planned or anticipated. In fact, all he wanted to do was mail two old hockey sticks to Orr and have them autographed for him and his brother Dwayne, who passed away two years ago.
"They're not just sticks that I picked up or anything - they're original sticks that me and my brother used," said Darrell. "We've had them since we were kids."
Darrell has been a die-hard Boston Bruin fan all his life. Not surprisingly, Bobby Orr is one of his favourite all time hockey players.
"He was always the best. He was a hard man to beat," said Darrell.
So how did a simple request turn into a personal lunch date with the hockey legend?
Everything began falling into place for Darrell more than six months ago, when Darrell was telling a friend how hard it was trying to get in touch with "Number 4."
"I've been trying to get a hold of him for a long time. He's not an easy man to track down, you know," said Darrell.
Darrell's friend suggested going through General Motors to track down Orr, since the Hall of Fame defenseman is the spokesman for GM's Safe and Fun Hockey program.
So Darrell started off his hunt for Bobby Orr by chatting with the folks at Labrador Motors, the local GM dealership in Goose Bay.
Darrell talked to several people associated with GM until, finally, he was put in touch with a man named Harold, who is involved in Safe and Fun Hockey.
Harold gave Darrell an address to mail the sticks out to. Darrell thought that his Bobby Orr experience would be complete after getting the sticks signed. But he was soon given the surprise of his life.
"(Harold) called me back the next day after telling Bobby (Orr) the story... and he said 'I got a better one for you. Bobby would like to have lunch with you in Moncton on August 7th,'" recalled Darrell.
"I said to myself, is this real?"
The lunch meeting was set to take place at a Moncton golf resort, where Orr was going to make one of his many charitable appearances.
Darrell's daughter, Danielle, recently gave birth to her baby in Winnipeg. At the time of his Bobby Orr get-together, him and his wife were already planning to fly out west to see their new granddaughter.
When the big day finally came, Darrell was amazed at how humble and down to earth Orr was. The hockey legend approached Darrell in the resort's lobby to greet him as if they were old buddies.
"He's just a super guy, a real gentleman. He made me feel like I knew him forever. He's just got that vibe about him," said Darrell.
"As soon as he saw me in the lobby waiting, he came over and shook my hand. He knew who he was looking for."
For a couple of hours, he chatted with Orr and a few of Orr's friends who were also golfing that day.
Darrell told Orr, who has never been to Labrador, about the Big Land and what it was like living here. The rest of the dinner was spent talking about life in general. Little of the time was spent talking about hockey or Orr's amazing hockey career.
And before everything was said and done, Darrell got his and his brother's sticks signed by Booby Orr - in person, of course.
Darrell is now back in Goose Bay and his fateful meeting with his hockey idol is over. But it's an experience he won't soon forget.
"It was something I my bucket list. I got it done and it was awesome," he said.