Last night I had the honour of attending an amazing party in honour of Maggie Hermant. All funerals should be like this.

Four hundred people stuffed into a Rogers Center suite. Where else would Maggie want her party? Hockey beaming from a dozen screens. Sports jerseys of all variety being worn in honour. Normal food served as per her wishes. An incredibly wide swath of family, friends, friends who were as close as family, work associates, clients, and old classmates. Included in that group were her grief stricken parents.

Maggie was a good friend of our agency and just a few weeks ago she was visiting our office to talk about the next phase in her career. As she was leaving, and I was arriving, we had a brief chat. She was beaming, as always. Quick with some sport highlight, not surprisingly. Behind her was the warm wake she always generated.

Now she is gone.

I left her celebration selfishly wishing that I knew her better. While I accuse myself of being selfish, it’s a a criticism I’m very willing to wear. Maggie was that type of gal. The speeches and memorials to her proved that. The party was organized around the start of the hockey game so the attendees could sing Oh Canada and witness the puck drop. Both of which were crucial to Maggie’s live hockey ritual.

Of course last night’s hockey games were the unfortunate stage of another memorial. Tribute after tribute was being conducted for the Humboldt bus tragedy. You couldn’t help but feel the additional heaviness of this national moment being brought to bear on Maggie’s moment. Magically they complemented one another. As the broadcast showed the powerful unity of the NHL player jerseys all bearing the Broncos name on their backs, the solidarity of the many Ohio State (her alma mater) jerseys at Maggie’s night was equally impactful. There was no question that the moment of silence requested on Hockey Night in Canada, and honoured by us live, was the soundtrack for paying our respects to the junior hockey team while also reliving our individual Maggie moments.

There was a moment early in the evening that I wish Maggie could have witnessed. As the broadcast went to an unexpected commercial, Maggie’s younger sister (and emcee for the evening) realized that there would be a gap in the presentations. Quickly she asked the gathering to sing one of Maggie’s favourite songs. The theme to Hockey Night in Canada. The orginal, and only, one.

The words were not past her lips before the song broke out at full volume. Everyone, even the non-sport fans, knew the tune. So amazing to me. We have an entire nation raised on a song. A sports song. Our true national anthem. There may be nothing more Canadian. A close second may be riding the team bus to a hockey game.

I think we belted that song out to celebrate Maggie, mourn the loss of members of our hockey family, and remind ourselves that when times are painful we are part of a bigger team than perhaps we ever realized.

RIP Maggie

14 thoughts on “My Words For Maggie

  1. Lovely tribute. It was a fitting celebration of the life of this amazing woman. She has left her mark on so many lives. Always bringing people together. I will miss her very much.

  2. Thank you for summarizing what we all felt Saturday evening at the Rogers Centre when remembering Maggie. Her celebration of life was 1 of a kind just like her.

  3. What a fantastic summary. What a night for my incredible sister. There was a lot of love in that room. Thank you for this.

  4. It truly was a wonderful party for Maggie. I will always be grateful to have known her and her family. They have always held spot in my heart. So glad I was able to make it and so glad that you wrote that recap. Thank you.

  5. What a good summary of the evening, thanks for posting this. Hockey Night in Canada, a great song that makes my heart swell every time I hear it, which is very rarely these days. Quick thinking Mary. Vale Maggie xx

  6. You incredibly were able to sum up the wonderful Celebration for Maggie when so many are left without words.
    She was one of a kind, there will never be another like her and we will always love her and hold her in our hearts
    Rest well my friend xo

  7. Perfect expression of feelings in that room and the evening as a whole. Glad to join everyone.

  8. I would have dearly loved to have been able to travel to pay my respects and be part of the night.

    It sounds like the family did her proud! Bravo

    It was only the previous Sunday that I was sat for a wonderful dinner catch up with my favourite polo groupies – Peter and Katie – in Nishi, Barbados talking about family and Holders and how both families were passionate about making a difference and put so much in to it.

    I only had the privilege of meeting Maggie on a handful of occasions, but what a force!

    Godspeed Maggie!

  9. I’m so sorry I wasn’t able to attend…thank you for summarizing the night. It sounds like it was perfect…sans Maggie. You will always be a shining star

  10. I have had many thoughts of Maggie over the last couple of weeks and believe her spirit is with those that knew her. This really shows the power of Maggie!

  11. Thank you for sharing such a beautiful tribute and for so eloquently describing an event I was sorry to miss. Maggie will be missed truly missed.

  12. Wonderful summary of our collective experience of coming together to remember Maggie. I had never cried singing our national anthem until then – I think we were all trying to match her passion.

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