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North Okanagan couple rooting for Canadian grandson goalie

Pat and Bob Pointer cheering on Thomas Milic who starts for Team Canada at WJHC in Halifax
Team Canada goalie Thomas Milic of Coquitlam gets the start against Germany Wednesday at the 2022 World Junior Hockey Championships in Halifax. He’ll have two special people rooting for him in Lumby: grandparents Pat and Bob Pointer. (Twitter/@TSNHockey)

Go ahead, call longtime Lumby residents Pat and Bob Pointer during the current World Junior Hockey Championships being contested in the Maritimes if you must.

But phone during Canada’s games? Sorry – the call will go to voice mail.

The Pointers, you see, will be glued to their TV set watching their grandson play for Team Canada. Thomas Milic is a goalie with the Western Hockey League’s Seattle Thunderbirds, who made the current edition of Team Canada.

Milic came in relief of starter and friend Ben Gaudreau of the Ontario Hockey League’s Sarnia Sting when Canada fell behind 5-2 to Czechia in its tournament opener Boxing Day Monday, Dec. 26, in Halifax, where Canada will play all of its preliminary round games.

Milic came in after the fifth goal and didn’t allow another puck to enter the net as Czechia stunned Canada with its 5-2 win.

He gets the start today, Wednesday, Dec. 28, when Canada plays Germany at 3:30 p.m. Pacific.

“We would like to be there, but it’s very exciting watching him play at the World Championships,” said Pat. She and Bob are currently house-sitting and will return to Lumby in the next month.

The Pointers will watch their grandson play wherever he’s at via TV, Internet streams, or in-person, when Seattle visits the Kamloops Blazers or Kelowna Rockets.

Born in Coquitlam, Milic is the son of the Pointer’s oldest of three children, daughter Stephanie. He and Gaudreau were the goalie tandem in 2021 helping Canada win gold at the World U18 Hockey Championship in Frisco, Texas. Milic also played for one of three Canadian teams at the World U17 Finals.

Milic started all 25 of Seattle’s WHL playoff games in 2022, helping the team reach the league final, where they fell in six games to the Edmonton Oil Kings. Milic won two Game 7s along the way to the final, with Seattle beating the Portland Winterhawks (Western Conference semifinal) and Kamloops (Western Conference final), both games ending 4-3.

“We’ve been watching junior hockey for a long time, and have always been a fan of this (World Juniors) tournament,” said Bob who, along with Pat, is a retired Weyerhauser employee.

As proud as they are of their grandchild wearing the Maple Leaf, the Pointers are equally excited how Milic conducts himself on and off the ice.

“He’s a fine gentleman,” said Pat. “He was even known for that in school. One teacher wrote on his report card ‘he’s a real gentleman.’”

READ MORE: From cross-Arctic treks to Olympic dreams, B.C. athletes made 2022 one for the books

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Roger Knox

About the Author: Roger Knox

I am a journalist with more than 30 years of experience in the industry. I started my career in radio and have spent the last 21 years working with Black Press Media.
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