Having Newfoundlander Ryane Clowe behind the bench of a professional hockey team in St Johns meant everything to the local community, says former NHL Ambassador Dan Cleary.
Clearwisher, who is from Harbor Grace, NL, said he was sad to see 36-year-old Claw withdraw as CEO of Newfoundland at ECHL Thursday due to the constant symptoms of a concussion in his gaming career.
"It just sucks for all the players," he said. "It just breaks my heart to see Clawie and how it affects his welfare.
Now Cleary is working on the development of Detroit Red Wings players and was among the many exciting Newfoundlanders to see the coaching of St. Wenceslas. John's in the first season of Growlers this year. The Growlers are a Toronto Maple Leafs subsidiary in the league, which is seen as a step under the American Hockey League.
"I think the whole province has been excited just to have a hockey back to have (Claw) at the head," he said in a telephone interview from Grand Rapids, Michigan.
When Cleary grew up, his local professional team was Maple Leafs of St. John, then Maple Leafs' AHL affiliate.
He remembers how he spent 45 minutes in the city and watched Felix Potvin between the pipes.
"I have always been Maple Lees in St. John, that was the team I followed and watched and watched, and all that," said Clear, who continued to spend 17 seasons in NHL, won the Stanley Cup with Red Wings in 2008 .
After leaving Maple Leafs, St John's hosts – and eventually lost – other hockey teams, including another Ice Caps (AHL) team and a Fog Devils franchise franchise.
Stream of over 500 NHL free games including Flames, Oilers, Leafs and Canucks. Plus hockey night in Canada, Rogers hockey in his hometown, hockey on Wednesday night and more.
Sport has a big role in eastern Canada, said Clear, who returns to St. John every summer to host his hockey school.
He grew up playing the frozen ocean after school and spending the weekend in skating with friends and family.
"Hockey is a tremendous part of the culture and the people who gather and celebrate." Newfoundland is a great place to grow up, to play hockey, "he said.
The news that ECHL Club will create a store in St. John, starting in 2018, was greeted with excitement.
The Growlers climbed to third place in the Clowe Leaderboard, recording 27-11-2.
The coach took a leave before Christmas and Leafs General Manager Kyle Dubas said on Thursday that Cloe would leave his post for "medical reasons" right away.
Assistant John Snowwood will take his position and Claw will remain in Leeds's organization in the role that has not yet been determined.
"I would like to thank Toronto Maip Liffs for the opportunity to become the first coach in the history of the Newfoundland Greylers," said Claw in a statement. "As a native of St. John, I was extremely honored and proud to have held this position, but my health is a top priority for my family and for me."
The left wing spent 11 NHL seasons playing with San Jose Sharks, New York Rangers and New Jersey Devils before retiring in September 2015 when doctors would not clear it after a concussion.
He is known for his size and skill, and as a solid player with a good set of hands that can play and play, said Clear, who plays many games against Clowe.
They also know each other personally, said Clear, partly because Claw was married to Clearing's third cousin.
"I know what a man he is, I know his work ethic, he was all-in (the" germ ")," he said. "He's such a passionate man that he's a hard-working man.
But head injuries can be devastating.
While most people recover from a concussion within one week to 10 days, some develop a concussion syndrome where symptoms can last for months to years, says Paul Van Donkelaar, who studies disruptions at the University of British Columbia Okaganagan.
The post-concussion syndrome may happen from a headache, but it is more common in people who have previously had a concussion, he added.
Symptoms may include headache, difficulty concentrating, nausea, and sensitivity to light or sound.
"Classical history is someone who has symptoms that persist for the rest of their lives or do not respond to different therapies," said Van Donkelaar.
"If they are permanent, it can actually have a significant impact on a person's life, reduce their ability to keep a job or continue to work … because that's too much for the system to put stress on every job when may worsen these symptoms. "
Researchers are seeking treatment for people suffering from long-term symptoms of concussion, he added, and there is a new job that suggests physical activity can play a role.
The head is "the real deal," Clear said.
"I have a really bad shoulder, I have a real bad knee, but I can still do my daily life and live and live normally to some extent," he said.
Despite Claw's retirement, Clearing expects the Grain-keepers to continue their success at St. John's.
The team is not without local players to cheer on, he noted. Four players come from Roca, including Zack O'Brien, who is second in the 15-goal and 20 assists in 28 games.
"I think it's important to have hockey at the Mile One," Clear said. "That's a great place, a great place. St. John is a great city.