Heart of the team: Moncton Wildcats’ assistant equipment manager reveling in new role
Published Wednesday, October 4, 2017 10:22PM ADT
The newest member of the Moncton Wildcats' hockey operations staff is making quite an impression on the team, right from the players to the front office.
Jonathan Henry has always loved hockey, but it's his dedication to the Wildcats that helped land the job of assistant equipment manager. Jonathan, who lives with down syndrome, says there’s no place he’d rather be than in the rink.
“I'm the number one fan of all time,” Jonathan says. “The guys that we got, they're so awesome.”
Jonathan is in charge of looking after the visitor’s bench and preparing for the game. He’s also responsible for pre-game clock duty.
“Great kid. He helps me out,” says assistant equipment manager Terry LeBlanc. “I do the clock as well so he helps me out during warmup. He runs the clock during warm up.”
Jonathan doesn't come into his job without experience. His resume boasts similar responsibilities with the Talahassee Tiger Sharks back in 2000 when he was just 17 years old.
Now the skills he learned, and more, have made him an important member of the Wildcats.
“He's always excited, he's always happy, he's always wishing you well. The world would be a much better place if they were a lot more Jonathan Henrys in it,” says Wildcats general manager Roger Shannon.
The promotion caught his father off guard.
“They were introducing the team and they introduced all the training staff and all of a sudden I see Jonathan walking out and they introduced his name and the crowd gave him a nice ovation. I had tears in my eyes for sure,” says Peter Henry, Jonathan’s father.
Jonathan Henry is fairly well-known in the Moncton area. He works two jobs, does crossfit and has competed on the national and international levels in both speed skating and swimming.
The Henry's quickly became a billet family, but it's Jonathan's dedication to the team that has made him a part of the wildcat family.
“We're going to take him on his first official road trip,” says Shannon. “At some point we're going to take him on the bus so he'll be part of the road game.
“His dream has always been to be a hockey player. He still thinks he's going to grow tall and become a hockey player. I'll say, ‘No you're growth spurt is all done.’ He'll just answer, 'You'll see,'" says Peter Henry.
If a career in hockey doesn't pan out, his current job with the Wildcats is the next best thing.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Jonathan MacInnis.