Hockey Legends

of Grande Prairie

You are Not Alone: A Remarkable COVID Story

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Doug Rigler became a GP Hockey Legend in the player category in 2008.

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Rigler brothers sharing the celebration of a Legend. Dave, left, presents his older brother Doug with the plaque. Photo by Stan Neufeld

This morning I (Stan Neufeld) came across a good news/bad news article by Justin Cohn a reporter for the Fort Wayne Indiana Journal Gazette. It reported that Doug had been stricken by a life threatening case of COVID 19. However, there was good news. He was about to be induced into a comma and placed on a ventilator when the Dr. declared that he was recovering and recover he did. When Doug was at the lowest ebb of his condition and unable to communicate with his wife Lynn, his Father who passed away seven years ago materialized before him and declared, 'I'm here to protect you and help you get through this.” When I reported this story to my brother Ron he responded, “It should not surprise any one that Doug’s Father Bob came to his rescue. You see – I played senior hockey with Bob on the post WW11 GP Legion Hockey team.

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Back Row: Walt Hiekkila, Gordon Bond, Don Swanston, Harold Ayre, Deb Crough, John Lynn(mgr.) Robert Card, Charlie Turner, Ernie Nelson, Roy Wright, John Listhaeghe. Front Row: Ron Neufeld, Bob Rigler, Johnny MacMillan, Fred Anderson, Lou Giroux, Jerry Moore, Kelly Schiekle. Stan Neufeld photo collection

We were teenagers playing with and against men – including veteran’s who had returned home from the war. Bob was a speedy, reliable winger who was always there when his teammates needed him. Times have not changed. That’s the good news. The sad news is that in the midst of Doug’s battle his Mother Kitty passed away. Ron and his wife Verna attended school in Grande Prairie with Bob and Kitty. Like her husband, she will be missed by all who knew her. Kitty’s passing was not all bad news as Bob informed Doug, “Soon I will be reunited with the love of my life.”

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Bob, left, daughter Darlene Reeves, and Kitty Rigler were in attendance to honour Doug at his Induction ceremony in 2008. Photo by Stan Neufeld

In the midst of this remarkable good news/bad news story it is heart warming to hear Doug and Lynn pay tribute to the “unbelievable care” he received at the hands of staff at Dupont Hospital, a 131 acute Care facility in Fort Wayne. Doug and Lynn’s story and their tribute should motivate people everywhere to join them in honouring First Responders. We are reminded that the majority of our Legend's family are among the most vulnerable in our population - please - stay well.

My brother Ron tells me that every night at seven pm he joins neighbours along his street in Tsawwwassen, BC to honour those everywhere who risk their lives that others, like Doug might live. The following poem is dedicated to recognize the selfless service of our First responders.


COVID – what a dreadful scourge
It has thrown a nasty curve.
It strives to undermine our health
And destroy our nation’s wealth.

Like a furtive thief at night
It strikes the poor despite their plight.
All around there’s devastation
There’s a sense of desperation.

Despite the gloom, let’s not despair
We have pros at hand who care
They’re known to us as First Responders
They deserve our highest honours.

Every night near suppertime
Our many neighbours form a line
It buoys us up - it cheers us on
We’ll carry on until it’s gone.

A siren screams and car horns blow
Spontaneous choir – quite the show
Our neighbour’s dogs join in the fray
This attitude won’t go away.

With courage our Responders fight
To conquer COVID - set things right
Throughout the land let’s set the tone
Our First Responders aren’t alone.

Ron Neufeld

Go to Legends, under players, on our website menu to read the biography for Doug

Best wishes to Doug, Lynn, their four children and two grandchildren. You are not alone.

A message from your Legend family.

Stan Neufeld

Grande Prairie Hockey Legends is researched, written and presented by Stan and Ron Neufeld