Angel Basarowick (nee Nelson) could barely hold back her tears when she walked into the South Okanagan Events Centre on Dec. 17 minutes before the Penticton Vees were set to honour the life and legacy of Neil Jamieson.
The Vees are much more than a hockey team to Basarowick — they’re an integral part of her life.
That’s why when Jamieson gave her Vees season tickets in 2015, the kind gesture meant the world to her. It’s also a moment that she’ll never forget.
“One day my husband and I were sitting in a section (at the game) and Neil came up to us and asked if my husband and I would both like a jersey,” she recalled.
After that, Basarowick and her husband, Aaron, were given season tickets at the SOEC courtesy of Jamieson.
“He supported people that couldn’t buy (season tickets),” Basarowick said. “I was touched big time.”
Jamieson passed away in June of 2020 after a two-year battle with cancer. The Penticton businessman served as part of the team’s board of governors and remained a fixture in not only the organization but also the community up until his death.
And on Dec. 17 when the Vees took to the ice to play the Vernon Vipers, Jamieson’s legacy was honoured with a special pre-game ceremony.
Thinking about Jamieson and what he meant to the team still makes Basarowick emotional every time.
“I was in tears when they did that,” she said. “It touched my heart.”
Jamieson officially became the 16th member of the Vees’ Ring of Honour shortly during the pre-game ceremony last month. His name forever adorned in the rafters of the SOEC.
Since 2015, Basarowick, who delivers Penticton Western newspapers with her husband, has attended every Vees home game. But even when the team is on the road, she still finds a way to watch her favourite team in action.
“I support them whether they’re on the road or not,” she explained. “The team means a lot to me, especially the coach. (Fred Harbinson) knows how proud I am of this team.”
Basarowick, who has cerebral palsy, knows the importance of staying positive.
Going to Vees game, following the team’s every move and volunteering for the organization are just a few things she does to keep Penticton’s hockey club as a big part of her life.
Basarowick, whose name before marriage was Nelson, lived in Langley after being adopted at the age of three. Her father’s love for hockey was passed down to her and once she arrived in Penticton, supporting the Vees quickly became a priority.
“My dad was a big hockey fan,” she said. “I support the Vees big time and when I met Neil Jamieson, I helped them and supported them however I can.”
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