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Westwood Staff Enjoy Visit from Stone Brothers and Lord Stanley's Cup

July 26, 2023

Group_Shot_webbanner.jpgApproximately 40 teachers, staff and their families piled into the gymnasium at Westwood Collegiate on Tuesday, July 25, 2023 for a chance to reconnect with two notable alumni—NHL players and brothers Mark and Michael Stone—and catch a glimpse of hockey's highest achievement.

Stone_brothers_w_cup_Instagram.jpgIn June, Vegas Golden Knights Captain Mark Stone helped lead his team to victory over the Florida Panthers in the NHL Finals.

For his turn with the Cup, Mark chose to reconnect quietly with a handful of venues including Westwood Collegiate.

Brian Schmeichel is the Athletic Director of Westwood and taught both brothers when they attended the school between 2004 and 2010. He coordinated the small get together after Michael contacted him about gaining access to the school over the summer.

“His mom had mentioned that Westwood was important for his family," he explains. Both brothers and their mom attended Westwood and were part of the event on Tuesday, along with their father and Mark and Michael's families.

Brian was humbled that the Stones made Westwood a part of their very busy day. He brought his own family to the event, including fellow Westwood English teacher Joanna Krecsy who also taught Mark and Michael.

“To me it was their determination and hard work that set them apart from other athletes," says Brian, adding Mark and Michael were extremely skilled and natural leaders. “You could see they were committed to what they were doing."

​As a volleyball coach, Brian says it was hard not having them on his roster. “They were the top athletes in volleyball and basketball in grade 8 at Lincoln Middle School, but their hockey schedules just wouldn't allow them to play. It was a bit frustrating, but they chose the right sport."

J.J. Ross taught Physical Education at Westwood when the Stone brothers attended the school and coordinated intramural floor hockey along with math teacher and hockey enthusiast Dorian Miller. Both Mark and Michael thrived on the relaxed but competitive sport that saw teachers face off against students.

“Mark's just a genuinely great human being. The most memorable thing for me was the floor hockey. We let them win," jokes Mr. Ross, who is currently SJASD's Physical Education and Health Education Coordinator. He brought his son, daughter and wife to the event on Tuesday.

“It's cool for my family to see two local Westwood students see their successes realized," he says. “[This event] is great because any kid that goes to this school and plays hockey at the Kirkfield Westwood Community Centre is doing the same thing as Mark and Michael."

Admins_w_Stone_FB.jpg“I wasn't surprised [Mark] did this," says math teacher Dorian Miller. “That is the kind of person he is. He doesn't forget about people in his life. He's a class act. It's not every day you get to shake hands with a Stanley Cup champion."

For Mark, Westwood Collegiate was one of a handful of special places he wanted to reconnect with in the area. “I had such a good time here," he says, adding there were some great memories too.

Michael agrees. “We built a really good relationship with the teachers that taught here," he says, adding that playing intramurals with fellow students and teachers was some of the most fun.

“It almost brought the school together. It was awesome," says Michael, who just announced he's hanging up his skates as defenseman with the Calgary Flames in favour of a player development role with the franchise.

Both brothers are happy with the turnout at Westwood and felt the small gathering gave them more time to reconnect with community members one-on-one, remember the old days, and thank the teachers that had such a big impact on their lives.

Teachers_w_Stones_webbanner_v2.jpgKevin Dueck is the Principal of Westwood Collegiate. “Our students need examples of role models of alumni who have persevered and who have beaten the odds and have achieved amazing levels in professional sport," he says, adding that it's almost magical that a Westwood alumnus is the captain of a team that won one of the most elusive awards in professional sport.

He adds that it's an inspiring reminder for teachers as well. “It gives you the feeling that there is unlimited potential within any student in your class," he says. “Kids you see in your class every day can be steps away from greatness in their futures."

A special thanks to the Stone family and Brian Schmeichel for facilitating this important event.

Images (from top to bottom): Westwood staff and their families gather with the Stones for a group shot; Mark (left) with his brother Michael; Westwood administrators and Mark; Current and former Westwood teachers that impacted Mark and Michael gather for a group shot.


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