A Halifax artist and hockey dad has teamed up with one of the biggest names in the game to help a young American player he’s never met in person.
Glen McMinn has partnered with Boston Bruins’ player and fellow Nova Scotian Brad Marchand to create a painting to fundraise for 19-year-old Jake Thibeault.
The Massachusetts teen suffered a spinal cord injury and was paralyzed in September 2021 when he hit the boards during a game.
McMinn said the young man’s story of resilience moved him.
“Jake was recounting what had happened and he had said something in the podcast that really drew me in, and I have to say it was transformative,” he told CBC Radio’s Information Morning Nova Scotia.
“He said that his dad was at the glass when he was injured and it really impacted me to say the least.”
McMinn’s son is younger than Thibeault but plays hockey in the same league. He could picture himself in the same situation, and he knew that he wanted to help.
It didn’t take long for McMinn to come up with a plan, and connect with Marchand through his long-time trainer, JP MacCallum.
“I was able to contact him and tell him what I was thinking about doing. He was actually seeing Brad that day and that night I got a call back … and JP said that Brad was 100 per cent in.”
McMinn decided to paint an image of Marchand’s hockey glove and make copies that will be sold to raise money for Thibeault.
The first time Thibeault saw the design he said he was at a loss for words. Marchand is one of his favorite players and the two have not only met, but keep in touch.
“One thing I’ve learned big time is there’s just so many good people out there,” Thibeault said.
“Glen, he’s gone above and beyond on this and it’s beyond what I can say for how much he’s done in such a short period of time.”
Listen to the full interview with Glen McMinn:
Information Morning – NS9:15Artist and NHL player team up to help paralyzed hockey player
‘A biography’ in a painting
The painting of Marchand’s glove contains all kinds of “Easter eggs” for people who follow the star’s career, McMinn said.
The font and style of his No. 63, for example, is a nod to his time on the 2016 World Cup of Hockey team.
The artist and athlete had several conversations to come up with the deeply personal design. McMinn said it was interesting to hear how Marchand questioned whether he was good enough even though he had won a Stanley Cup.
“It’s like a biography in the form of a glove instead of a book,” he said.
Since last fall, Thibeault has been going to intensive therapy for spinal cord injuries four or five days a week, plus doing exercises and physical therapy.
He says there’s now movement in his legs, which gives him hope.
The money raised will help pay for his physical therapy that’s not covered by insurance.
“When the injury happened I knew I had to fight, and I’m still doing it until I’m on my feet,” he said.
McMinn said it was an honor to get to know him.
“He’s a person with a huge amount of focus and determination,” he said. “He’s pushing himself and not giving up.”
Marchand and McMinn have made 63 prints of the original painting that are signed by both of them. They’re selling them for $2,500 US, which McMinn admits is a steep price.
But he hopes there are 63 people out there willing to support the cause.