N.B. basketball team remembers Andrew Milner
HALIFAX -- A jersey worn by Andrew Milner, the very first recruit to Rothesay Netherwood School’s boys basketball prep program, was retired on Saturday following the tragic death of the former team captain. Despite his passing, his high school team and community members continue to honour his legacy.
When Andrew Milner of Antigonish, Nova Scotia, first arrived at the school, Coach Damian Gay says they were a single southern New Brunswick basketball team.
"He loved the idea that he was going to be helping to build something astronomical compared to what was currently in Atlantic Canada,” says Gay. “He was a dreamer, but he had the work ethic to match it. Not too many kids his age have a legitimate legacy – it's kind of inspiring"
Milner also played for Team Nova Scotia and the University of Calgary - winning three national championships in only four years, cementing his status as a rising star, who was also a mentor to many.
"I was 14 when I came to RNS,” says current team captain, Caleb Sooley. “I was still pretty young, and I moved provinces, moved away from my family, and started boarding here – he really showed me the ropes of the school."
Tragically, two weeks before his twentieth birthday, Milner died in a canoeing accident in southeast British Columbia. Cranbrook RCMP said that two males were canoeing on Moyie Lake on the morning of April 23, 2019, when the boat tipped. Unfortunately, only one of the canoeists made it to shore.
“He had so much going for him, and life was just starting,” says Gay. “I was just was kind of torn apart."
To pay tribute to him, RNS held the Andrew Milner Memorial Game between RNS and Fredericton High School on Friday, which also saw Sooley and teammate, Jack Fifield, inducted into the alumni family for RNS.
"It was really nice that it was on Andrew's memorial night,” says Sooley. “Me and Jack, having played with him, it was a really special night that I don't think I'll ever forget."
The event was in partnership with the Andrew Milner Memorial Skills Academy in Nova Scotia, which was led by former teammates and coaches of Milner. All of the proceeds from the academy go towards an annual scholarship in Milner's name.