Boy gave couple hope in darkest hour

Stan Beardy, Grand Chief of the Nishnawbe Aski Nation with his adopted son, Brayden photographed in...

Stan Beardy, Grand Chief of the Nishnawbe Aski Nation with his adopted son, Brayden photographed in Toronto on Jan. 18, 2014. (Veronica Henri/QMI Agency)

Christina Blizzard, Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 3:15 PM ET

TORONTO - Ten years ago, the bottom dropped out of Ontario Regional Chief Stan Beardy’s life.

His son, Daniel, 19, a promising young hockey player, was murdered.

In a stark Thunder Bay hospital room, doctors broke the devastating news to Beardy and his wife, Nellie: There was nothing more they could do to save their son.

A black hole opened up in his life, Beardy recalls.

“There was suddenly a large void. It was like a part of you had been taken away,” he told me in an interview Saturday.

He rattles off the date — Aug. 1, 2004.

But just as their hearts were breaking from that tragic loss, another child walked into their lives.

News of Daniel’s injuries was big in Thunder Bay. Another little boy, Brayden Pelletier, just three at the time, was watching cartoons when the TV news came on.

There on the screen was a picture of the popular goalie a lot of youngsters followed to games in Thunder Bay. At the time he was killed, Daniel was the number two ranked Junior A goalie in the country and had hopes of an NHL career.

He was in intensive care for 30 hours before he died.

Brayden asked him mom, Audrey, why his friend’s picture was on TV. She explained that he’d been badly hurt.

The tot asked her to take him to see him.

“I can still picture what he looked like,” Beardy says.

“He arrived in shorts and sandals and a muscle T-shirt. He had chocolate on his face,” he says with a smile.

The grief-stricken family was still weeping over their loss when Brayden arrived. They gently explained to him what had happened.


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