Kids in Elsipogtog, N.B. sponsored to play hockey in honour of late fisherman

Kids in Elsipogtog, N.B. sponsored to play hockey in honour of late fisherman

by Sue Jones
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Beloved fisherman Captain Craig Sock believed to have died after his fishing vessel capsized last spring.

Craig Jumbo Sock

Craig ‘Jumbo’ Sock. A friend’s gesture to sponsor a child to play hockey in Sock’s memory has spiralled into a breakaway, with about 100 kids sponsored so far. (Submitted by Derek Sock)

Captain Craig (Jumbo) Sock was a hockey defenceman and lifelong hockey fan, his favourite team being the Chicago Blackhawks.

So when fellow fisherman Joshua Noel Millea decided to do something to honour his friend, who is believed to have died when his fishing boat capsized last year, it only made sense to incorporate hockey.

“In memory of my brother man Jumbo … I would like to sponsor one kid for the upcoming hockey season,” Millea said in a Facebook post. 

Then he encouraged others in the community of Elsipogtog, N.B. to do the same.

  • Missing fisherman’s brother says he drowned trying to save others

The idea spiralled into a breakaway. 

So far, about 100 kids have been registered for hockey, and other sports like soccer.

On Facebook, Millea listed the names of all the kids who will be enrolled in hockey, as well as their sponsors. 

“I’m sure my brother is standing proud and looking down on us and he’s right happy,” Jumbo’s older brother, Derek Sock, said.

‘We’re always in limbo’

It’s believed Sock died at sea last spring after his fishing vessel capsized off the coast of Nova Scotia.

The Tyhawk was making its second run of the day to set snow crab traps when it began to take on water. As the crew tried to ready the life raft, the Tyhawk suddenly capsized.

It’s believed Jumbo died trying to save his crew mates.

His body has never been found, and his family has been “in limbo” ever since, Sock said.

“Nobody’s searching, there’s no closure,” he said. “Nothing seems to be progressing.”

Sock Boys

Older brother Derek Sock with a little Jumbo. (Submitted by Derek Sock)

Despite their heartache, Sock said he and his family are overwhelmed by the generosity of the community.

“This act alone gives opportunity to children who would not normally go that hockey route because it’s very expensive,” Sock said.

Remembering a hero

Hockey registration in the Kent County area costs about $500.

Sock is hoping more people will help out with expenses like equipment and gas for hockey practice and games for the kids.

Craig Sock

Craig Sock out on the water. (Submitted by Derek Sock)

He’s also hoping this act of kindness becomes a community tradition.  

“It’s a legacy that I hope will continue for many more years in honour of my brother, or Our Jumbo, as I like to call him.”

Jumbo’s eldest son, Tyrone, is also carrying on his father’s love of hockey by coaching a hockey team in the Kent County area.

No child left behind

The sponsorship idea came about just over a week ago.

Children were nominated in the community and their names were later drawn from a hat.

Jumbo And Wife

Craig Sock and his wife on their wedding day. (Submitted by Derek Sock)

Soon, more and more people starting getting involved, including local businesses like the Elsipogtog Sports Bar and Pizza Shack St-Louis. 

“It’s just rolling out on its own,” said Ruth Levi, an Elsipogtog First Nation band councillor. “Elsipogtog is a community that is very giving, despite hardships.”

Hockey is a way of life in the New Brunswick community, Levi said, but many residents in the area live on social assistance and hockey is a steep expense for them.

“We’re a very giving and loving community at the end of the day,” he said.

This year, kids will play in Richibucto, about 17 kilometres away, after the Chief Young Eagle Recreation Centre was damaged by a fire a year ago.

More kids are expected to register for hockey on Sept.8.

“No child will be left behind,” Sock said.

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