Rensselaer Alumni Magazine - Spring 2015 - (Page 64)
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Thoughts on Hockey, Diabetes, and Pete Seeger
A father's memory of a memorable visit to Rensselaer |
FROM WHERE I SIT AS A HOCKEYloving 71-year-old Canadian
grandfather, I remember (Je me
souviens!) Pete Seeger!
In 1996, my wife, Jennifer, and
I made our first trip to RPI, with
our youngest son, Peter, and dog,
Biskit, and stayed at the closest
motel to the RPI arena, which was
the Best Western in Troy, N.Y.
Our family hockey history centered around our hometowns of
Goderich and North Toronto, and
that weekend we had been invited
to RPI to discuss a possible hockey
scholarship for Peter, who was
a good Lawrence Park student,
excellent hockey player, and a
Type 1 diabetic inspired by Team
Canada hockey player Bobby
We were having Sunday breakfast waiting for our son and RPI
hockey coach Dan Fridgen to join
us to discuss the opportunity for
Pete to play hockey for RPI.
In that same motel dining room
was only one other couple-a
tall, lanky elderly gentleman
with a woman companion.
This informally dressed gentleman had a familiar, relaxed
air about him and I asked
the waitress if by chance she
knew who that gentleman
was, because to me he looked
The waitress said that she only
knew that his first name was
"Pete," and then I realized that
he was none other than one of my
American heroes from long-ago
hauntingly beautiful folk singing
protests of my own youth.
I got up and walked over to his
table and in true Canadian fash64 RENSSELAER/SPRING 2015
BY FRANK GARDINER
ion apologized for interrupting
him but said I simply wanted to
say "hello" and thank him for his
music and community leadership.
Pete Seeger got up from his
chair and after learning my wife
and I were visiting RPI for our first
time, welcomed me to Troy and
introduced me to his charming
Pete explained that he and
Toshi were in Troy attending a
concert at RPI, where his granddaughter was a student, and he
spoke very highly of RPI.
When Coach Fridgen arrived
with our son, I introduced them
to Pete Seeger and his wife. Pete
Seeger then engaged the coach
in a friendly discussion about the
potential of having outdoor skating rinks along the Hudson River.
It was a brief, memorable
moment for me personally, and at
the end of our own breakfast with
Coach Fridgen, Pete accepted the
offer of a four-year RPI hockey
It was a brief, memorable moment
for me personally, and at the end
of our own breakfast with Coach
Fridgen, Pete accepted a four-year
RPI hockey scholarship.
scholarship. That introduced
me and our entire family to the
generous and fun hockey family
experience of RPI Division I
hockey, culminating in an RPI
business degree for our son, Pete,
who graduated in the year 2000.
During our four years at RPI we
launched "Cure Diabetes Now!"
with Ryerson University students
here in Toronto coming to RPI to
American folk singer and activist Pete Seeger, who died Jan. 27, 2014, at the age of 94,
inspired legions of activist singer-songwriters-and some hockey fans, too.
film a hockey game, RPI vs. Dartmouth, with four young Type 1
diabetics, including our son Pete;
Deana Herrera, Miss New York
State 1998; Ayden Byle, who ran
across Canada for diabetes; and a
young Jonathan Evans as honored
guests, along with a Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer
flown in for the occasion by
an anonymous generous
American. A New York State
Police honor guard accompanied our RCMP officer for
the playing of both the Canadian and American national
Our tiny, strictly volunteer
TEAM CDN! (Cure Diabetes
Now!) has, over the past 14 years,
raised over $134,000 for diabetes research as we continue to
promote fun, family fitness, teamwork, and a greater awareness of
the dangers of obesity and diabetes
now reaching epidemic proportions across Canada and the USA
in kids of all ages.
If you Google "Goderich Dash
for Diabetes 2014," you will hear
"The Homecoming" by the late
Hagood Hardy and the inspiring "We Shall Overcome" sung
by Pete Seeger, a great American
man of integrity.
Thank you, Pete Seeger, for
your great legacy to all of us.
Thank you, RPI, the RPI
hockey team, and Ryerson University for helping us launch our
ongoing 10K Team CDN! Dash
Nineteen years later, our family
pet, Biskit, is no longer with us, but
our fond RPI memories linger on
along with our evolving "strictly
volunteer" family project to promote 10K fun and family fitness.
Frank Gardiner is father of Pete
Gardiner '00, a Toronto native who
played right wing for the Engineers.
He finished his career third on the
team in goals and set a school record
for games played in a career with 144.
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rensselaer Alumni Magazine - Spring 2015
Table of Contents
Snapshot: Astronomy and Art Intersect
President's View: Healthy Partnerships
Feature:Bridging the STEM Gap
Feature: Smartest Lake in the World
Feature: In the Air
RAA Annual Report
One Last Thing: A Memorable Visit to Rensselaer
Link: Inside Rensselaer 209th Commencement Article & Photos
YouTube Link: Partnerships: Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and Rensselaer (2:40)
Link: “The New Polytechnic: Addressing Global Challenges, Transforming the World” speech
YouTube Link: Immersive Learning at Rensselaer: Geo Explorer (0:49)
YouTube Link: The Jefferson Project at Lake George (0:03:25)
Link: Class Notes (RAA Account Required)
Rensselaer Alumni Magazine - Spring 2015