Gravenhurst sends off Sochi-bound sledge hockey player Graeme Murray
Published Saturday, February 15, 2014 7:03PM EST
Next month, the Paralympic games will begin in Russia and some of our local athletes are getting ready.
Today in Gravenhurst, there was a big send-off event for sledge hockey player Graeme Murray today.
In the town, he's just one of the guys playing a little street-hockey. But soon Murray will be taking his game across the ocean to Sochi, Russia as part of the Canadian Sledge Hockey team at the 2014 Paralympics – his fourth games.
“I have been in this situation often enough to know how to control my emotions, not that I want to supress them, but use that energy to build myself up,” says Murray.
Today the Town of Gravenhurst wanted to show Murray it cares. Well-wishers signed for him, and he signed a little something in return. Murray has brought home gold medals in Paralympics and world championships. He's known as a physical force on defence – a tough competitor – but locals know the humble side of him too.
“I've never really claimed to be the best player,” he says. “All along I've just worked hard.”
He's off to training camp in Calgary next week and says although he enjoys the rivalry with the US team, there's another team he knows will be medal hungry.
“Russia also has a very competitive team, and they’re putting a lot of effort into these games as host,” he says.
Murray's family is excited for him, but his mother says she had "motherly worries" when she first heard the games were in Russia.
“I had mixed thoughts when I found out they were going to Sochi. It just didn't feel safe or secure,” says Bernene Jones.
Graeme helped calm his mother’s nerves by assuring her all will be fine. His greatest concern is about spaghetti and meatballs. It's his favourite food at Gravenhurst's Rombos restaurant, and he wonders how the Russian version in the athletes’ restaurant will compare.
But just like his game, he has a plan.
“I'm definitely coming back for some Rombo's when I'm done,” he says, adding he’s “looking forward to that.”