I know that we have a lot going on today, but there is a story out of Alberta that deserves our attention.
Evan Bayko went to bed on Sunday night a vibrant and athletic hockey player and never woke up. Bayko died Monday after having an epileptic seizure while sleeping.
Bayko, always quiet and soft spoke off the ice, was a fierce competitor and hard nosed defender when he played, according to longtime Cunucks boss Don Phelps.
Bayko spent the last two seasons with the Alberta Junior Hockey League's Cunucks and was concentrating his academic efforts with hopes of earning a NCAA Division I scholarship.
THE OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE
Evan Bradley Bayko of the Calgary Canucks passed on to a new life on Monday June 6, 2011 at the age of 19. Evan attended the Banff Hockey Academy after two seasons of Midget with Calgary's Northeast Athletic Association. After one season of Junior B at the age of 16, was invited to the Calgary Canucks training camp in April 2008 where he was asked to sign a white card and he did.
Evan had just written his SAT's and had aspirations of attending an American College on a hockey scholarship. Evan had a kind heart and was loved all that knew him. He always put others before himself.
Evan is survived by his mother Corinne Heim and Hal Young (Dad) along with his sister and best friend Alex Bayko.
A celebration of his life will be held at McInnes & Holloway Fish Creek Chapel, 14441 Bannister Road SE on Saturday June 11, 2011 at 10 am. In lieu of flowers donations may be made in Evan's name to Epilepsy Canada, 2255B Queen St. E, suite 336 Toronto, ON M4E 1G3.
I am not an expert on Epilepsy, and do not know if Bayko had combated this at any other point in his young life, but I could only imagine that the thought of going to sleep and never waking up never crossed the young man's mind. Maybe it is the fact that I am getting older and maybe it is because I keep seeing stories of folks younger than me passing in the night, but the thought of not waking has made me a better person.
Country songs like Tim McGraw's "Live like you were dying" and Garth Brooks, "If tomorrow never comes," have led me to take everyday as a gift. I try to never fall asleep angry and to shower my family with love and affection.
Folks, we only have one life to live, I don't care if you are fifteen or fifty-five, put your own stamp on it. Maybe Bayko's story sheds even the slightest bit of light on our young players and they make a decision to live everyday to the fullest. Mine begins and ends with the sweetest gift a father can ever receive, a loving embrace from my children.
...if I die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take.
What do you think?