Bathurst High School Boys Basketball Team

Honourable senators, a little over a year ago, I stood in this chamber to talk about the tragic highway accident that took the lives of seven high school basketball players and the wife of the coach in the community of Bathurst, New Brunswick, an area of the country which I call home. That was a tragedy of unspeakable proportions.

Today I want to talk about a triumph. It happened this past weekend in Fredericton, when this team, the Bathurst Phantoms, after suffering such a terrible loss, went on to victory and captured the provincial championship.

These boys, who have lived through such pain and loss, came together and played like the champions they are. Teenage boys being teenage boys, they may not have talked a lot to each other about the friends and teammates they lost just one year ago, but with each clever pass, layup, dunk, jump shot and three pointer, they showed themselves, their community and, indeed, the country exactly what having heart is all about.

They showed us all that we can find healing in teamwork and in playing hard. The most valuable player of the game said it best afterwards, as he spoke wearing a championship medal and the net from a basketball hoop around his neck: “It shows that there’s still hope.”

Their remarkable triumph says a lot about the boys, their coach, their parents, and the community of Bathurst. As many of you know, I represent the senatorial division of Ottawa-Rideau Canal, but northern New Brunswick will always be home to me. I have very deep roots there.

I am not surprised by this victory. A community where there is love and faith can conquer tragedy and misfortune. If there is any doubt, just look at the Bathurst Phantoms and find your inspiration.

Those honourable senators who have had the good fortune to visit the North Shore of New Brunswick will know that there is no shore like the North Shore — and that is for sure. The Bathurst High School boys basketball team brings those words to life.

Go Phantoms!