A terminal cancer diagnosis didn’t stop Don Black, the president of the Saskatchewan Broomball Association, from hosting the world games for his beloved sport this November.
“I’m going to be there for the event and it’s going to go well and that’s the important thing. The players are going to have a good time,” said an emotional Black.
In June, Black, 57, was told he had less than a year to live. But after successful treatments, his doctors now believe he has two years.
“We’re going to fight every day and make it as long as possible. I’ve got a new granddaughter…so there’s lots of reasons outside of broomball to stay around, but broomball is a big reason to stay around,” he said.
He has four daughters and five grandkids ranging from seven weeks to 17 years.
Black has been a staple in the local broomball community. He’s played for 30 years and served as president for the last eight years in Saskatchewan.
“My wife was reminding me this morning…Our annual vacation plans are basically one week a year around our nationals in April wherever they are in the country. It’s not too exciting for her,” he said with a laugh. “I’ve been fortunate enough that she’s come along and supported me with all of it.”
FIGHT TO BRING WORLDS TO REGINA
Black worked hard to bring the upcoming broomball world championships to Regina Nov. 1 – 5, even after many told him the city wasn’t big enough to host the international event.
“They all got the same type of feedback – Saskatchewan’s too small, they couldn’t host it. There was always some resistance.”
Black and his crew worked tirelessly at the 2014 world games in Japan to bring the games to Canada. The Saskatchewan team was up against the Americans, who wanted the event in Minneapolis, Minn.
“We arrived at Japan knowing that, as far as we knew, it wouldn’t be a level playing field but we decided we were going,” he said. “We worked hard all week.”
When the time came for the countries to pick the next location of the world event, it was unanimous. Even the Americans voted to bring the event to Regina.
“It really did feel unbelievable that Saturday night when we won the bid,” he said. “We were pretty excited.”
HOSTING THE EVENT IN REGINA
Seven countries, Switzerland, Italy, Australia, Japan, United States and Canada, will be represented at the games in Regina.
Black was the one who spearheaded fundraising for previous events. Last time Saskatchewan hosted nationals, they had an excess of $20,000 after the event. Black said that won’t be the case this time because of his illness keeping him from fundraising.
“We will probably lose money unfortunately,” he said. “That’s a big concern. We didn’t have ability to knock on corporate doors that we usually could.”
Even if the event doesn’t raise money, Black said the community support for the games, and himself, has been overwhelming.
“I expect to be at the nationals next April in Quebec, health permitting. That’s what makes it such a big family. All of the support I’ve gotten from across Canada, from the teams from Japan, Australia, Italy and Switzerland all has been amazing. I can’t help but stay on and feel grateful that these people are here.”
To see “broomball at its finest” people can watch the games in Regina from Nov. 1 – 5 at the Co-operators Centre.
If anyone wants to assist in the tournament, they can call Black at 529-1803.