Home city: Tupperville, Ontario
Date of crash: September 19, 1997
This tribute was presented by Chad’s mother, Cathy Unsworth, at the MADD Canada National Victims’ Weekend, October 1998, in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Last year in August we visited Nova Scotia and enjoyed it thoroughly that we thought we would love to come back again someday, but we never thought it would be this soon and under these unfortunate circumstances.
Last September 19th, 1997 our 2nd son “Darryl Chad”, at the age of 19, was killed by an alleged drunk driver (we’re still in court). We try not to mourn his death but have tried to celebrate Chad’s life for he is still deep within our hearts. And in doing this, I am here to present MADD Canada with a gift that truly comes from the heart as well as the memory of Chad’s life. I would like to take this opportunity to explain the meaning of this special gift.
As a young boy Chad’s dream was to play in the NHL, for hockey was his life. He was born January 27th, 1978, so he was named after the hockey player Darryl Sittler, who wore the number 27. So it’s no wonder this was his desire all through his short life.
A left wing hockey player he became and nothing could stand in his way. Other parents often commented that “he was like a freight train, no stopping him.” For most of his hockey life he played for the small town of Petrolia, where hockey fame’s such as Mark, Dale and Dave Hunter, Pat Verbek, Bob Gould, John Van Boxmeer, all local guys who made pro hockey. In Petrolia we have the Silverstick Tournaments all through the Christmas holidays. Chad played in many of these tournaments. As a young boy he thought if you try hard enough anyone can be a star, and he always put his heart and soul into every game he played.
Chad is now a star, and he does now play in the NHL. “The National Heavens League.” He traded his smelly skates in for a brand new pair of wings. “He no longer wants to fight to win”, but wants us “to win our fight against drunk drivers.” He pouts because “we can no longer watch him play and cheer from the bleachers” for all his hockey years I can count on one hand how many games we missed.
At Chad’s funeral a white dove was given to me, that I released, to fly and be free. After the funeral, that same dove flew to our van window wanting to come home with us. We still have that dove and once in a while she donates some feathers to give as her gift to you. We named her Dido because when you told Chad you loved him he would answer back “dido”. Some of the feathers on these wings are Dido’s feathers.
The jersey the doll is wearing is a miniature of the hockey jersey Chad wore, this one is made from his team members’ sweaters. Chad is buried with his hometown hockey jersey, his hockey number was “2” and that is on the back of this one.
If I could picture Chad now he would be wearing his jersey and his face would be glowing, with his big crooked smile and he would say, “Look at me now Mom and Dad, My Silverstick is now gold”.
I give this doll to the National Office of MADD Canada today to remind us all, “That dreams can come true, it’s just that some have to go to heaven to find theirs.”
I now would like to read a poem I wrote on Thanksgiving Day, October 12, 1998 –
MY SILVERSTICK IS NOW GOLD
Today, our children are at peace and everything is made of gold,
Where the old are young at heart and our children can grow old.
Where there is no more face-offs, penalties for a game
Where there is no more interceptions, fighting off the pain
No more passing of the puck across the center line,
No more slashing holding, or checking from behind.
The left wing is now injured, he can’t be a part of the team
For hockey can no longer be his life long dream.
Tomorrow, heaven forbid, it could be your child next time
Drunk drivers don’t show prejudice, when they cross that centre line.
We should all fight for our rights, for stiffer penalties,
And make it so they can’t get back, the privilege of having keys
Blow the whistle on drunk drivers, make it our strategic plan
Face-off with our government and judges, and believe for what we stand
Make new goals, stricter laws so we all can feel safe at hand,
For that was what God wanted, he always hoped and planned.
The future will seem brighter, as we become tough fighters
Our Official Government and Judges will give stiff penalties,
Make new laws, for the innocent and not our worst enemies.
The referees can finally breathe a sigh of relief,
For now they have earned their wings, for all their pain and grief
And all the bleachers in the stand, can finally yell and cheer,
Our children are now safe, from the pain we all once feared.
And on that special future day, the day we hoped and prayed,
Our picket signs we carried, the ink will now fade away.
The day our hearts will be filled with love, no longer bitter cold,
That’s the day my Son’s silverstick will have turned to glitter gold.
Get in the game, help us fight, to even up the score!
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