It is an understatement to say I love the Habs. I’ve seen them twice this season at the RBC center. I listened to the broadcast on CJAD last night via the internet. I’ve seen Gainey play many times at the old Montreal forum. Bob Gainey was a boyhood hero of mine; an anglo who learned to fit in on an all French team (hell, he learned the language), and became the leader of a dynasty.
My first reaction when I read this was, “holy shit”:
Rescuers race to find daughter of Habs’ GM
Laura Gainey, 25, swept into Atlantic by rogue wave on Friday; Montreal Canadiens’ GM passes duties to assistant while awaiting word
Last Updated: Sunday, December 10, 2006 | 1:52 PM ET
The search for Laura Gainey, daughter of Montreal Canadiens’ general manager Bob Gainey, has reached a critical stage two days after she was washed off a tall ship from Nova Scotia, rescue officials said Sunday.
Laura Gainey, 25, was swept off the Picton Castle on Friday night. She wasn’t wearing a life jacket or a survival suit.
(Courtesy of Barque Picton Castle)
On Sunday, the hockey club identified Gainey, 25, as the woman who was swept off the deck of the Lunenburg-based Picton Castle by a rogue wave during a storm Friday night. The Lunenburg-based vessel was en route to Grenada when the accident occurred about 760 kilometres southeast of Cape Cod, Mass.
Her father, a hockey legend, has been GM of the Habs since May 2003, returning to the team that he helped win five Stanley Cups in his 16 NHL seasons from 1973 to 1989. At one point, a Soviet national team coach called Gainey — a left winger and eventual captain — the best all-around player in the world.
Canadian and U.S. coast guard vessels and a merchant tanker have been combing an area of more than 1,900 square kilometres.
Gainey, who hadn’t been wearing a survival suit or life jacket, had been in the water for 34 hours as of 1 p.m. ET Sunday.
The U.S. Coast Guard estimated Gainey would be able to survive about 36 hours, based on factors that include her age, her physical fitness and the water temperature of around 22 C.
Crew threw her life jackets, rings
But Daniel Moreland, the senior captain of the Picton Castle, said it was too early to give up.
‘The water’s warm. There’s reason for hope.’ -Daniel Moreland, captain of the Picton Castle
“The water’s warm. There’s reason for hope,” he told CBC News on Sunday from Mahone Bay, N.S., where he has been following the search.
“As soon as someone goes over, it’s very problematic to get them back, except if conditions are perfect, and conditions are far from perfect.
“But there are many cases of people being in the water for long periods of time as long as it’s warm, so we’re going to keep the search up.”
Gainey was ‘very dedicated, very hard-working and very passionate about being on the ship,’ according to the Picton Castle’s skipper.
(Courtesy of Barque Picton Castle)
Moreland said that as soon as Gainey hit the water, crew members threw over rescue gear to mark the site and help her stay afloat. The captain said it was pitch black at the time, making it almost impossible for the crew of 29 to see her.
“There’s a lot of debris, a lot of life rings: ten or more life rings and life vests would have been thrown at her,” he said.
Gainey is a volunteer on the vessel who is known to be a good swimmer, very fit and is “a well-loved crew member,” Moreland said. He described her as “very dedicated, very hard-working and very passionate about being on the ship.”
The Montreal Canadiens issued a statement Sunday saying Gainey had passed his duties on to assistant GM Pierre Gauthier while he and his three other children —Anna, Colleen and Steve — await word. Laura Gainey’s mother, Cathy, died of brain cancer at age 39 in 1995.
Search at crucial stage
Meanwhile, the U.S. Coast Guard said Sunday that the search is in a crucial stage.
U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Larry Chambers said an American C-130 search aircraft returned to the scene on Sunday, relieving the crew of a Canadian Coast Guard C-130 that had searched through the night.
A merchant tanker has also helped in the search.
The tall ship was four days into a voyage to Grenada, travelling along the Gulf Stream, when it encountered bad weather.
Moreland said by all accounts Gainey was where she should have been on the vessel, seeking shelter from the storm.
Gainey inspired Frank J. Selke Trophy
Gainey’s father is probably best-known for his relentless style on the ice, which spurred the NHL to create a new post-season award, the Frank J. Selke Trophy for the top defensive forward. Gainey won it for each of the first four years it was presented.
He inspired Soviet national team coach Viktor Tikhonov to call him the world’s best all-around player after the 1976 Canada Cup.
Gainey was named captain of the Canadiens before the 1981-82 season.
He was named to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1992.
With files from the Canadian Press