“He was a fantastic student, a quiet, humble leader who excelled in all sports.”
Those are the words David Cameron elementary teacher Sharon James used to describe one of her former pupils, National Hockey League player Tyson Barrie, during his first visit back to his old school in Colwood.
James, the only teacher remaining from Barrie’s three years at the school, said it was a “real thrill” for the students to spend some time with the Colorado Avalanche defenceman.
Barrie patiently accommodated every autograph request from the enthusiastic flock of students with a genuine smile and kind words, before addressing the school’s end-of-year assembly last week.
Reminded that he had been interviewed and photographed by the News Gazette for a story about his involvement in a charity fundraiser when he was in Grade 4, Barrie was quick to acknowledge his parents.
“It was probably something my parents encouraged me to get involved in,” Barrie said. “My father (former NHL player Len Barrie) is one of the most generous people you will ever meet, and my parents have always stressed the importance of giving back and helping out. I’m just trying to do my part.”
During his address to the students, Tyson Barrie emphasized that all things are possible if you are willing to work hard and believe in yourself. He noticed the day before that although the school hockey team’s name had changed from Raptors to Eagles a few years ago, the jerseys still sported the old dinosaur logo. When he told the students that he was going to replace the old jerseys and furnish the school with some new sports equipment, the gym erupted in cheers.
After the assembly, James summed up Barrie’s talk by saying the hockey star has given a lot of hope to kids to work toward their dreams.
Barrie, 23, also brought the gold medal he won at the IIHF World Hockey Championships last year, adding that it was one of the highlights of his career.
“Any time you get to represent your country, it’s a no brainer for me,” said the former Juan de Fuca Grizzlies minor hockey player, who plans to spend the summer in Victoria. “It was so much fun, and a great group of guys. You make friendships that will last a lifetime.”