Doug Bochert from Ottawa, Canada has been a big ice hockey fan all his life. He supports The Ottawa Senators, and has played competitive ice hockey against some of the team’s leading players.
At one stage he nearly turned professional but decided against it and just continued playing recreational hockey as goal tender. It was during one of these games in February 2001, that Doug’s life changed forever. It was a nasty challenge as another player fell on top of him and broke his neck leaving Doug paralyzed from the neck down.
Doug has had to adjust to his new life with the support of his wife Laurie and their 26-year-old daughter, and he has a full time care attendant Cathy Reid.
In 2007 Doug and his family went on a cruise to Barbados and really wanted to visit Bert’s Bar, owned by Eugene Melnyk, also owner of the Senators ice hockey team. But Doug was unable to get transportation from the cruise terminal to Bert’s Bar.
When Doug and Laurie returned home, Laurie’s parents Tom and Mary Blackburn were really upset to hear the Doug didn’t get to visit Bert’s Bar, which is quite famous amongst ice hockey fans in Ottawa. Mary was determined that her son in law should fulfill his dream and so sent an email to the team at TotallyBarbados.com.
Brett Callaghan, Managing Director of TotallyBarbados.com got in touch with Goddard’s Shipping & Trading and sourced a vehicle that was adapted with a lift to transport Doug in his wheelchair. Brett also spoke to Allyson Sargeant, Marketing Manager at Bert’s Bar and between them, they ensured that Doug would get to visit the bar next time he was in Barbados.
Tom & Mary then presented Doug & Laurie with their Christmas present, another cruise to Barbados, knowing that this time Doug wouldn’t be disappointed.
Doug, his wife Laurie, his parents in law Tom & Mary Blackburn and his carer and her husband Cathy & Tom Reid were all collected by Goddard’s Shipping & Trading from the cruise terminal and taken to Bert’s Bar, where they were greeted and welcomed by all the team including Bert Innis, founder of Bert’s Bar.
Doug said. ‘I am overwhelmed; it is just as I thought it would be.
I have seen pictures and am really happy to finally be here.’ Doug was then presented with a Senators jersey, with the number 11 on the back and his name Bochert. Daniel Alfredson, Bert Innis and Eugene Melnyk signed the shirt.
Bert Innis said, “We had the access ramp installed a few years ago to cater for disabled visitors and to let people know that Bert’s Bar can accommodate everyone. Bert’s Bar is well known in Ottawa and when we heard that Doug hadn’t been able to visit us, we jumped at the chance to welcome Doug and his family.’
The team at Bert’s Bar then treated Doug and his family to lunch on the house.
Brett Callaghan is the founder and managing director of Totally Barbados. I specialize in writing content for the tourism industry for my island home of Barbados. I help companies build strategies to grow their businesses online with SMART marketing, advertising, and social media goals.