Tragedy and Triumph: Senator Munson congratulates Bathurst on Phantom’s win

For Immediate Release



OTTAWA, February 24, 200 – The Honourable Jim Munson, Senator (Ottawa – Rideau Canal), originally from Northern New Brunswick, spoke in the Senate of Canada today to express his great pride in the Bathurst High School boys basketball team as they swept to take the provincial championship.


Just a little over a year ago I expressed my deep sadness in the wake of the horrific 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 – a town I call home.  That was a tragedy of unspeakable proportions.


But this week that tragedy turns to triumph.  Just one year after suffering such a terrible loss, this team, the Bathurst Phantoms, 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 team mates they lost just one year ago. 


But with each clever pass, each lay up, each dunk, each 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 you 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.”


This beautiful victory tells us a lot about these boys, their coaches, their parents and the community of Bathurst.  I may be the Senator for Ottawa Rideau-Canal, but northern New Brunswick is where I have my roots – very deep roots.  I’m 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.  They bring to life one of my favourite New Brunswick expressions and one that speaks to the spirit of northern New Brunswick:  “There is no shore like the north shore and that’s for sure!” 


Go Phantoms!