Sports ‘n’ Things: A fond farewell to Leo Soligo

"Leo lived a life of accomplishment, and not just on the personal side."

The obits page has been pretty full lately. We pre-baby boomers are used to seeing familiar names there, but there is still that feeling of loss, especially when the relationships go back to almost the beginning of remembrance.

Leo Soligo was one of those names. Soligos, like my family, were among the original Mickey Mouse residents and I was aware of who he was, as a neighbour and example and then as a friend, for almost all of my life.

Leo lived a life of accomplishment, and not just on the personal side. As far as I can remember/discern, he was the first area native to receive an American collegiate hockey scholarship, which he parlayed into a successful business life, right back at home. Such was his attachment to his roots he lived in Mickey Mouse, a block from the home of his upbringing,  for a lot of his adult life, too.

Along the way, he played and coached a lot of hockey, including guiding  Trail junior and juvenile teams to at least four provincial championships – while was articling and building what became his named accounting firm – and was a stalwart on the Shoe Shop Sunday Morning League dynasties.

Mostly, local people will remember him as a friend, someone who was part in their lives for most of his. Someone, too, who, with his life partner, raised a family capable of success. Though he was a middling curler at best, two of his children became world class at that sport.

Leo had a good life, was a good guy, and gave back. He will be missed.

• Also being missed, and not least by the Smoke Eaters, will be another former Warfieldite, (Warfieldian?) Doreen Guillaume, who participated as a fan of the club for as long as she was able, and that was a good long time. A caring, helpful person, she, too, will be missed by many here.

She and Leo are just a small part of a generation of community creators we are losing. Be sure to cherish those that are left, while we can.

• Meanwhile, the Nitehawks and Smoke Eaters have games tonight, and you should pick one and go watch.

Beaver Valley takes on Kimberley in what valley fans are hoping will be a conference finals preview.  The Dynamiters are one of only two KIJHL teams with more standings points than the Nitehawks, and have the stingiest defence in the league. The Nitehawks have scored the most goals and are in the middle of the pack defensively. Can’t help but be an interesting matchup, especially so for the coaches involved.

The Smoke Eaters, in dire straights in the playoff race but still mathematically eligible, will try and solve the West Kelowna Warriors, aka the Monsters of the Mid-Okanagan, in back-to-back games at Cominco Arena, trying to keep faint post-season hopes alive.

The Warriors have had their way with Trail this year, but the Smokies are a feisty group, so, those games, too, should be interesting.

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