by Kathy Johnson
Youth Olympian bronze medalist Brendan Nickerson returned home from the inaugural 2012 Innsbruck Games to a 2 a.m. hero’s welcome on Wednesday (Jan. 25).
Decked out with signs, flags and banners, more than 200 people lined Route 330 waiting to welcome Nickerson home, while fire trucks, the RCMP and family members, including his 94 year old great-grandfather, Veteran Rozie Crowell, waited by the Barrington Ground Search and Rescue Centre to meet the family and lead the way in a homecoming parade to the Cape Sable Island Causeway, where fireworks lit the night sky.
Congratulatory signs were also posted along the route by many local businesses, while District 34/Papa’s Steak House opened the doors so people could get a chance to congratulate Brendan, who graciously signed autographs for young and old, and posed for pictures.
Neither Nickerson, nor his mother Candace had any idea of the community’s plans for the welcoming. Candace’s boyfriend Jeremy Shand was let in on the secret once they arrived in Toronto from Germany late Tuesday afternoon, giving organizers updates as they made their way home down the 103, who spread the word via social media.
“I was sleeping and woke up to this,” said Nickerson after arriving in Barrington Passage. “It’s pretty awesome.”
Nickerson was going to spend a few days at his South Side home on Cape Sable Island before heading back to Bridgewater where he lives during the hockey season, and plays defence on the Major Midget South Shore Mustangs.
Nickerson was one of 17 players aged 16 and under from across the country picked to play on the Team Canada for the Youth Olympic Games in Austria from Jan. 13 to 22, where they captured bronze in a 7-5 victory over the U.S.A.