Any successful amateur hockey team needs reliable volunteers who show up and do their job each week, without question, without complaint. For the Fort St. John Huskies and Senior Flyers it’s no different. There are many people involved in these teams, but the one who’s been around the longest and best embodies the spirit of these volunteers is the one and only Doug Lambert.
Lambert, or Dougie, as he’s affectionately called, has been the waterboy for the Huskies and Flyers for at least 15 years. He’s been doing it so long neither he nor anyone else is really sure when he started. All they know is that when they first got involved with the Huskies and Flyers, Dougie was there.
“He’s been around the whole time I have, even back when I was playing,” said Huskies President Mike Bacso. “My understanding is that he’s the longest standing member of the current Huskies organization.”
Dougie is more than just a water boy, he’s the team’s most loyal and faithful fan. He attends every single home game without fail, and can be seen in the stands wearing the newest Huskies team hat and jacket, laughing and cheering along with whomever happens to be sitting next to him that game.
But when the period ends, Dougie slips away. He enjoyed the hockey, but now, for just 10 minutes, he has to do his job. Dougie goes out to the bench like clockwork, collects the 12 or 18 water bottles, carries them back to the locker room, and fills them up.
This is more than just a task that needs to be done. For Dougie, it’s important, and it needs to be done well.
“I just like to help out and I love being the water boy. I do a good job, I do a really awesome job,” he said.
Dougie is also the water boy for the NEBC Midget Trackers. Three teams may sound like a lot, but if it involves hockey, Dougie will be there.
“He’s our guy, he loves hockey, loves his Huskies and loves the Flyers. All the teams look after him and make sure he has the latest team clothing, and it’s a lot of fun having him around,” said Flyers President Paul van Nostrand.
Not just a water boy
Dougie does more than fill water bottles. He’s an integral part of the team and organization, and his love of the game and the joy he brings to the rink each day is infectious and impacts the players.
“He’s a guy who puts a smile on your face every time he shows up to the rink. He’s a sweet, sweet man, and everything he does for us is much appreciated. He’s one of the boys, and we play for him as well,” said Huskies goalie Jonathan Bateman.
“He reminds us it’s just a game, and the positive energy he has, you can’t beat it,” said Huskies forward Dean Whitcomb.
After the 2018-19 regular season, and before to the start of playoffs, Bacso awarded Dougie with the President’s Award at the team’s award ceremony, for embodying the spirit of the Huskies and hockey, and being a key part of the team.
Dougie wins and loses with the team. He feels the pain when they lose, and he gives a speech when they win. Dougie loves to give a speech.
“I don’t like losing, I hate losing, but I really like when we win,” Dougie said.
This year, the Huskies won the Senator’s Cup for the second straight year. Like last year, they won it on the road, but this season, Dougie was on the road too, and got to hoist the trophy along with the players, a smile wide as can be plastered on his face.
“I’m pretty happy we won the championship. I want to do this again next year. I want to do it in my hometown of Fort St. John. I’m very happy.”
Email sports reporter Dillon Giancola at firstname.lastname@example.org.