By GREGG DRINNANThe Kamloops Blazers will play with heavy hearts this weekend.
Daily News Sports Editor
Daily News Sports Editor
Doris Rubel, the organization’s den mother seemingly forever, died early Thursday with daughter Kerry at her side. Doris was 75.
Rubel was the WHL team’s long-time billet co-ordinator. She had been involved in the billeting of hockey players here since the 1960s and had worked with the Craft Kings, Braves, Rockets, Chiefs, Jr. Oilers and Blazers.
A funeral service will be held Wednesday, 1 p.m., at the Calvary Temple.
The Blazers will honour Rubel’s memory with a moment of silence prior to tonight’s game at Interior Savings Centre.
The Blazers are at home to the Vancouver Giants tonight and the Victoria Royals on Sunday. Coincidentally, both coaches, Don Hay of the Giants and Marc Habscheid of the Blazers, have ties to Kamloops and the Blazers and were well-acquainted with Rubel.
Wheelchair-bound for the last few years and in failing health recently, Rubel wasn’t able to attend the Blazers’ regular season-opening game on Saturday. But she simply refused to abdicate what she felt were her responsibilities to the hockey club.
“She has been (working), right until early (Thursday) morning,” said Dave Chyzowski, the Blazers’ director of sales and marketing. “Kerry has been helping. Doris refused to give up . . . she still wanted to do stuff.”
Chyzowski, an Edmonton native, played three seasons (1987-90) with the Blazers and lived with Rubel during part of that time.
“I remember living at her house like it was yesterday. If you know her from the outside,” he said, “you see how much she cares. If you live with her, you see how much she loves these kids. Now that I’m a parent, I would love to have my kid be in her hands.
“She instilled discipline. She didn’t take any (crap). She used to charge us 25 cents if we said a bad word. She had a jar in her house and if you said a bad word, you owed her money. She would say, ‘You don’t talk like that around here.’
“Nowadays, with the kids we have, she’d be a multi-millionaire.”
Forwards Brendan Ranford and Ryan Hanes are the longest-serving Blazers presently on the team’s roster.
“She welcomed me to the city when I was 16-years-old . . . she was a great person,” said Ranford, 19, who is from Edmonton. “She was always humble and very nice to every player. This is a tough loss for the organization.
“You could go to her for anything. She was really open for whoever needed help with billets. She was a great person.”
Hanes, who is from Kamloops so lives at home, never had to deal with Rubel in terms of billeting.
“I didn’t see her very often,” he said, “but the guys appreciated the help because she was always there for them. If there was anything they needed billet-wise, she was always there. She was one of the nicest ladies . . .”
Rubel often took in players when situations arose with other billets or if a change was requested.
“She would say, ‘He can come and live with me and I’ll take care of him,’ ” Chyzowski said. “She cared more about kids who came and played for this team. She fed everybody. I don’t think she made under a million sandwiches for this hockey team.
“She was unbelievable and she never wanted anything in return. People don’t realize how special she and Kerry have been. They gave and gave everything.
“Both their lives have been dedicated to all our alumni, the coaches and the hockey team.”
Rubel was honoured as a Blazers Legend in 2005 and was inducted in the Kamloops Sports Hall of Fame in 2010. In 2004, she was named the first recipient of the WHL’s Distinguished Service Award.
“I haven’t called my mom,” Chyzowski said. “She is going to be in tears. She will be devastated.
“It’s a shitty day but it’s a day to celebrate what she has done for us.”
Chyzowski then dug a quarter out of a pocket and went looking for the jar.
Former Blazers react, via Twitter, to the death of Doris Rubel:
“RIP Dorris Rubel, you did so much for the blazers organization. you will be missed. Thank you for everything last year.”
“Doris could always make me smile or laugh when I needed it. The Lord got a kind soul today. I will miss you Doris.”
“Prayers for the Rubel and Kamloops Blazers family. Doris thank you for keeping us all in line and being the mom who was there when ours couldn’t.”
“Very saddened to hear of the passing of Doris Rubel, treated me so well all 3 years I was in Kamloops. May she rest in peace.”
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