This Saturday the Prince George Spruce Kings will be supporting MADD Canada and the Project Red Ribbon Campaign - a commitment to drive safe and sober. Fans to the game will be given a red ribbon as part of the national campaign to be displayed on vehicles, keychains or on personal items like purses, briefcases and backpacks.
The red ribbon is a sign of respect for the thousands of Canadians who have lost their lives or who have been injured as a result of impaired driving. The red ribbon also reinforces the message to drive sober through the holidays and throughout the year.
A little over a year ago the Spruce Kings family was touched by a "senseless act by a suspected drunk driver" leaving an alumni grieving the loss of a loved one. The incident happened on Tuesday May 3, 2011 and I first posted a blog here shortly after learning of the incident.
In recognition of this Saturday's game and the Project Red Ribbon Campaign, I have copied and pasted that original posting here again. Please wear red to the game on Saturday and get your red ribbon to be displayed prominently.
On Tuesday May 3, 2011 an alumni of the team finds himself grieving the loss of a loved one.
Cody Schlamb was one of those key acquisitions made for the Spruce Kings run in the 2007 RBC Royal Bank Cup. With four seasons in the BCHL and another in the Alberta Junior Hockey League, Schlamb was known for his ability to shut down the other team's top guys.
Cody Schlamb (16) celebrates his first goal
with the Spruce Kings
A defensive asset but an overager that would be 21 early in January 2007, Schlamb became expendable in Surrey and was immediately claimed by the Spruce Kings. Schlamb made an immediate impact in his first game with his new team and quickly endeared himself to the fans and the hockey operations staff.
"I will never forget his first game," recalls Spruce Kings president, Darcy Buryn. "He scored a goal in that game and then found himself in a suit and tie watching the game from the seats after being tossed for a collision with the goaltender."
In what turned out to be a 5-0 win over the visiting Powell River Kings, Cody Schlamb scored the game winning goal at 16:27 of the second period. Two minutes and one second later, Schlamb would again be the focus around the net after colliding with the visiting goaltender and being assessed a five minute major and game misconduct.
In the years after winning a silver medal at the 2007 RBC Royal Bank Cup, Schlamb would show up at games unannounced as the Spruce Kings made stops along their Coastal Conference road trips. Calling Chilliwack home, it would not be uncommon to see Cody standing beside my broadcast location in Surrey or by the benches in Langley just to say hello and show his support for the team.
Now well away from the rink, it is my turn to tell Cody that we are there by his side to give support as he grieves the loss of his longtime girlfriend, Kassandra Marie Kaulius. Cody and Kassandra had been a couple since they met in 2004 and I can remember seeing Cody on the phone after games talking to Kassandra. As Cody puts it, he just can't imagine what his future will be like now.
In the Friday May 6, 2011 edition of The Province newspaper Elaine O'Connor published an article after speaking with Cody Schlamb ...
Cody Schlamb says his life has been ripped apart by the loss of his longtime girlfriend, Kassandra Marie Kaulius.
Kaulius, 22, of Surrey, was killed Tuesday, the victim of an apparent drunk-driver collision.
Kassandra Kaulius (Photo courtesy Les Bazso, PNG)
"She truly was my life and my future," Schlamb said Thursday.
"On Tuesday, my future was taken from me. Half of me died that night. I have the memories of our past, but when it comes to thinking of my future ... no one should have to feel the pain I am feeling right now."
Schlamb, who lives in Chilliwack, said he and Kaulius had been inseparable since they met in 2004 and they planned to get engaged this summer and move in together in the fall. They were both pursuing teaching degrees.
"We were going to become teachers and spend our summers traveling together, and have kids," said the 25 year old.
"It is crazy to think that if you asked me three days ago where my life was going, I could have told you to a 'T' and now for it to be ripped away by such a senseless act ... there are no words for it."
Kaulius was driving home westbound on 64th Avenue and waiting to turn left on to 152nd Street in Surrey when she was struck by a white panel van that raced through a red light and smashed into the driver's side of her red BMW.
Witnesses reported that the van's 34 year old female driver fled and tried to elude police. She was arrested in a nearby wooded area.
Surrey RCMP Cpl. Drew Grainger said that charges against the woman are still pending approval and that they did not expect to charge the suspect or release her name before next week. She is facing charges of impaired driving causing death.
The story is being followed in depth by the media and there are many articles available online. A scholarship trust fund has been established in Kassandra's name. The most important part of this has to be getting the message out there so that this "senseless act" and loss of life doesn't have to happen.
Don't Drink and Drive!
My condolences go out to Cody Schlamb, the Kaulius family, friends of Kassandra and to those that will never have the chance to learn from her. A memorial service held on May 12th was attended by over 1,000 family, friends and RCMP members dressed in their full red serge read more