Riley Creighton is in his third season with the Revelstoke Grizzlies

Riley Creighton balances hockey with firefighting

Riley Creighton is looking to make a career as a firefighter once he's done playing for the Revelstoke Grizzlies.

When Riley Creighton first walked into the Revelstoke fire hall less than two years ago, he was still in high school and wasn’t even old enough to vote.

“I’m easily the youngest guy there,” he told me. “I walk in the room and my friends, it’s their dads that are volunteers. I grew up with their kids.”

Creighton, now 19, is probably best known in the community as the Revelstoke Grizzlies pugilist. He joined the team two years ago and quickly established a reputation as a fearless fighter and hard worker.

I met up with him right after the Grizzlies tilt against 100 Mile on Friday. He was bare chested and sweaty after the hard-fought win. We talked about what it was like being a hockey player and being the youngest volunteer fire fighter in town.

“I’ve had to mature a bit there, they probably wondered why I was here,” he said. “I’ve grown a lot. I’m trying to take on more responsibility there but everyone is a vet there.”

Fire chief Rob Girard recalled one of Creighton’s first training sessions. “When he spoke on the radio for the first time, he couldn’t stop giggling,” Girard said in an e-mail. “We had not taught the recruits radio protocol yet and Riley had never talked on a radio before.  Before long he had all of us with smiles on our faces as he grasped this new concept.”

Creighton followed his brother Sean, who is a career firefighter, into the force. Riley was still in grade 12 and trying to figure out a career path when he decided to sign up as a volunteer.

The atmosphere is similar to being on a hockey team he said. “It’s a brotherhood. Everybody there’s got your back,” he said. “It’s amazing. The people are all bros. It’s pretty similar to walking in a locker room. When you walk in everyone gives you a ‘What’s up?’”

Creighton goes out to all calls that come in – house fires, truck fires, a few malfunctioning water heaters. He was on the CP Rail bridge when it caught fire in May. “It’s pretty scary when you’re on the planks because you don’t know how long they’ve been burning for,” he said. “You’re standing on wood that’s been on fire for three hours. I don’t know if that’s OK or not but it worked out.”

Part of the job entails dealing with tragedy, something he dealt with when a man died in a fire in Arrow Heights on January. Creighton said he knew the family and he knew the victim was still inside as the battled the blaze.

“At the time you’re just doing everything you can to put that fire out,” he said. “You don’t know if he’s locked up, trying to stay OK. That one got way out of control. It was literally spray as much water as we can to get it out. It wasn’t good at the time.

“That wasn’t a fun one at all.”

I asked Creighton if there were skills that transferred from hockey to firefighting. “I think work ethic,” he replied. “If somebody’s telling you to do something, you get that job done. If they need ventilation, they need ventilation done. You get the job done, that’s key.”

He also mentioned cardio. “When you got that mask on you get half the air you should,” he said. “I’m asthmatic. I don’t think it’s in my medical record but that was definitely a challenge for me at first. Even after a fire you’re coughing up stuff for a few days after.”

Girard said Creighton has fit in well at the fire hall and said he is dedicated to training and answering calls. “He has great drive and dedication which is a real asset in firefighting,” said Girard.

Finally, I asked Creighton about the Grizzlies, who are off to a 2-5-0-1 start this year. The team has undergone wholesale change since the first game of the season and Creighton has been put on defence lately as coach Darren Naylor firms up his roster. “We’re starting to pull it together,” he said. “Brandoli is keeping us in some games.”

He’s also had to make adjustments to his game due to new rules that offer much bigger punishments for fighting. It’s forced him to tone down his pugilist side; he was hoping to double his fight total this year.

“I’m a lot more experienced than I was when I first got one-punched by (current teammate Wade) Cliner,” he said. “I though now I can probably have a lot more fun doing it, so I would much rather have that rule change back.”

Creighton said this is likely his last year in the KIJHL, even though he has one year of eligibility left. “I don’t think my mom’s going to let me live at home after this. I’m probably going to fire school next year, that’s my goal,” he said. “I want to get everything I can out of a program. Some of them are two months but I want to do the good one.”

 

Just Posted

City of Revelstoke trying to fill 11 positions

Jobs are available in a variety of departments

Revelstoke cadet attends general training course

The course took place in Vernon and covers sports, drill, marksmanship and expedition skills

Revelstoke Library hosting National Geographic’s Adventurer of the Year

Jennifer Pharr Davis will be doing a public presentation July 20

‘Bad choices make good stories’: Margaret Trudeau brings her show to Just for Laughs

Trudeau says over the decades she has been suicidal, manic, depressed

UPDATE: Youth seen with gun at Nanaimo mall, suspect now in custody

Woodgrove Centre shut down during police incident

B.C. man dies from rabies after contact with Vancouver Island bat

Last known case of human rabies in B.C. was 16 years ago

Crown recommends up to two-year jail term for former Bountiful leader

Crown says sentence range should be 18 months to two years for Bountiful child removal case

B.C.-wide police efforts identify Vancouver Island robbery suspect

Warrant issued for arrest of North Vancouver man for TD Bank robbery

VIDEO: Wolf spotted swimming ashore on northern Vancouver Island

Island wolf population estimated at under 150 in 2008, says VI-Wilds

Diversity a Canadian strength, Trudeau says of Trump tweets at congresswomen

Trudeau avoided using Trump’s name when he was asked about the president’s Twitter comments

B.C. couple bring son home from Nigeria after long adoption delay

Kim and Clark Moran of Abbotsford spent almost a year waiting to finalize adoption of Ayo, 3

UPDATE: special council meeting set for Wednesday, Basran in talks with province

Opponents of McCurdy house says she won’t ‘relinquish possession’ of more than 14,000 names

Most Read