The term local hero can be defined in many different ways.
Often a local hero can be someone who became very successful in one facet or another from your community. Sometimes a specific person can become an inspiration by working hard and having another person with a similar passion follow suit. While that can be very admirable, Portage Terrier goaltender Bailey Monteith has taken that a step further.
Darius Flett, an eight-year-old hockey player and avid Terrier fan, built up the courage to knock on the door of his favourite Terrier, who just so happens to live a few houses away.
"I knocked at his house, and he said, 'I don't have skates here.' And I was like, 'It's okay,'" Darius explains. "We went in the car and got to the rink, and then he showed up. I was like, 'No way!' It was so fun. I didn't know he was going to come."
Bailey says initially, he thought he didn't have enough equipment at home to be able to play with Darius and told him they could play together on the weekend.
"I realized I had my old pair of skates in my car still, and then my billets had a pair of gloves and a stick I could use. I thought about it for like 30 seconds and said, 'Why not?'" Bailey continues. "It's something that might not seem like much to us Terriers, being 16-20-year-olds but it makes my day knowing that I made his day."
Bailey and Darius had quite a few interactions before, as Darius loves to greet the Terriers after practice.
"I met Bailey and all of (the Terriers) because sometimes I watch my brother go to the rink, and then I wait for them to come out of the dressing room," says Darius.
The young Portager was thrilled to learn a few moves that night.
"He teached me to do a one-timer," Darius notes.
However, Bailey remembers things a little differently.
"I think he was the one showing me how to do a one-timer, to be honest," Bailey shares. "He's got a pretty good one for how old he is. It was impressive. I think there might be an Alex Ovechkin in Portage in a couple of years."
Terrier goalie Bailey Monteith lends eight-year-old Darius a helping hand with his one-timer. pic.twitter.com/wCG9NkmPig— PortageOnline (@PortageOnline_) April 1, 2023
Darius was already planning on being a lifelong Terrier fan but moments like this are what can solidify that fandom. The eight-year-old plans to try out his new and improved one-timer in his 3-on-3 league. His mother, Laura, couldn't believe the generosity Bailey showed that night.
"I think with the Portage Terriers right now, we have a really good team, and they go out in the community and connect well with the kids," Laura explains. "With Darius, his face just lit up. It was a great time, and it was great to see (Bailey) actually show up."
The 20-year-old says being at the rink with Darius made him feel like a kid again. Bailey adds he was just like Darius when he was young, and that made it even more fulfilling.
"My local junior team meant so much to me when I was a kid. I could name you most of the (Kamloops) Blazers roster from when I was five. When I'm done hockey, it's going to be pretty cool to know that I'll just be out in the world doing my thing but I'll know that Darius might remember me or some other kid that came to a game. The support from the kids is crazy. My favourite part of junior is making these kids feel like they have someone to look up to. It's really special."
Bailey notes moments like this will stick with him forever.
"I won't remember a random win in November but I'll remember going out with Darius that night. Seeing the kids' reactions at the games and the Skate with the Terriers, I'll remember that stuff more than a win early on in the year. The wins now matter but that stuff is just as cool too."