The opening of the St. Stephen Aces game Friday was an emotional one.
Scottie Greene, 18, member of the St. Stephen Aces who was injured in a motor vehicle accident on Sept. 14, attended a home game Friday at the Garcelon Civic Center.
Greene, who was sitting in the audience prior to the game, walked to the dressing room before making his way with the team to the ice for a ceremonial puck drop.
The audience jumped to its feet with loud cheers and applause as Greene made his surprise appearance.
Greene was in attendance with his grandparents, and his mother, Kerry Lynn, who said her son will return to Newfoundland Monday, but he won’t be going straight home. He will journey to a rehabilitation centre in St. John’s. “We don’t know how long he’ll be there,” she said.
She said the family appreciates the support the 18-year-old defenceman has received from his hockey family and the St. Stephen community as a whole since he was severely injured.
“The waterworks started for me as soon as we walked in the door,” she said with a laugh.
Prior to, and during the game, Greene was presented with gifts, such as a painting from Grade 9 student Kyla Hastey, and a hand-painted ornament from Grade 6 student Rachel Milligan.
Greene and his family sat with Allan and Crystal MacEachern, his former billet family. Allan said he “couldn’t believe” the support Greene and his family received at the game.
“I want to thank the community – it blew me away, the gifts and support. I’m choking up talking about it,” Allan said.
“I couldn’t be prouder,” Allan added.
Before the game, Greene, with coach Josh Hepditch surprised his teammates, who were unaware he was coming.
“They were surprised, and shocked in a way,” Hepditch said. “The reactions from the players – it was such a special moment. They were speechless really. It was exciting; it was really a cool moment.
“It really is incredible – after 50 days in the hospital, and to come back and drop a puck, it kinda just shows you who he is as a person.”
Hepditch said Greene is motivated to lace up a pair of skates, and is eager to return to the ice.
“He talks about it all the time – he wants to be back in St. Stephen and that’s his main goal.
“Playing hockey his entire life, and the level that he played at, I’m sure it is keeping him motivated. I know right now mentally for him he just wants to be involved,” Hepditch said, and mentioned Greene’s younger brother who is also a hockey player.
“His younger brother’s hockey team doesn’t have a coach right now, and he’s talking helping out when he is healthy enough.”
Greene, who returned to the hospital Friday after the game, was released Monday where he will get on a commercial flight to St. John’s.
“We’re super excited that he’s able to return home to Newfoundland to do his rehab, but we want him to know that were still supporting him from here.”