Rustlers rally behind local hockey legend battling brain cancer

By Josh Hall (Twitter: @Vancan19) and Troy Gillard (@Troy_Gillard)
February 11, 2019 - 7:50pm

The family of a local hockey legend is thankful for support from the community as its patriarch deals with a recent brain cancer diagnosis.

Wynne Dempster won the Centennial Cup with the Jr. A Red Deer Rustlers in 1971 and would eventually return to coach the team in the early 80s.

He also enjoyed a pro career that included time with the Johnstown Jets, the team who inspired and appeared in the legendary hockey movie "Slap Shot." 

"It's the one story you tell as a hockey playing kid, that no one ever trusts, that your dad was in Slap Shot," jokes Wynne's son, Mike. "It's the ice breaker whenever you go to a new team, somebody says 'hey, that guy's dad was in Slap Shot' and everyone comes over and asks you to tell the story."

Wynne later worked at Red Deer Bottling and coached minor hockey for his two kids.

The current Senior AA Red Deer Rustlers made the announcement regarding his health on Friday. The team will be hosting "Win it for Wynne" this Saturday, Feb. 16 when they host Morinville for the start of their second round North Central Hockey League playoff series. Game time at the Penhold Multiplex is 7:30 with proceeds from ticket sales and 50/50 going towards helping Wynne and his family with expenses. 

“I know Wynne was hesitant to have a fundraiser, and he didn’t feel like he needed help, but the basis of it is ‘This is something that you’re going though and to be able to have family or team support, know you’re not the only one fighting and that everyone will be there to help you, even if it’s just saying hi, will make a difference in the long run,’” says Mike, who is Rustlers team president and captain.

Also on Saturday, Sylvan Lake RCMP is hosting a fundraiser at the Wheel House Garage (484 McCoy Drive, Red Deer County) from 1-8 p.m. There will be a BBQ, silent auction, 50/50 draw and children’s raffle, with all proceeds going to support Wynne’s fight. 

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