Thank you, Abes

Former teammate pens farewell to legendary grad

Captain Abraham raises the Queen's Cup for the first time in a long time.
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Kevin Bailie, ArtSci ’16, Law ’19, writes a thank-you letter to his long-time friend, teammate, co-worker, and soon-to-be fellow alum, Spencer Abraham—an individual widely regarded as the best defenceman in Queen’s Varsity Hockey history.

I don’t think I need to spend much time convincing any readers that Queen’s University is full of special people and alumni. Chances are that if you’re seeing this, you’re one of them.

Students in Kingston have the privilege of rubbing shoulders with a countless number of brilliant and beautiful human beings from every corner of the globe—from Nobel Prize Laureates, to Olympians, to military veterans, to social movement leaders, to astronauts and beyond.

Personally, I enjoyed hearing everyone’s unique stories and seeing how they used those experiences to add another distinct fingerprint to a community which is, in my humble opinion, the greatest student experience our country has to offer.

If I was given the chance, I would gladly give each and every one of you the public recognition you deserve. But today, I’m here to give praise to somebody I, and a tremendous number of others, owe a lot to. Spencer Abraham.

When Spencer arrived on campus in September, 2014, we knew we were getting an extremely talented athlete who was also respected for being an outstanding person.

What we didn’t know was that we had just received an individual who would end up being arguably one of the greatest contributors to the reputation, development, and success of Queen’s Athletics of the decade.

Spencer, I watched you day in and day out dedicate every fibre in your being to becoming the best student and athlete you possibly could, unapologetically pursuing your goals with class and passion.

As you wrap up your final semester, I thought it’s only fitting that you should receive this graduation gift—a small token of collective appreciation from the teammates, students and institution you inspired and gave your whole self to for six years.

So, Abes, thank you.

Thank you for deciding to come to Queen’s, showing the hockey world that academics and athletics aren’t mutually exclusive.

Thank you for your quirky humour, giving us all that well-timed laugh when it was needed most.

Thank you for turning down professional contracts every summer, prioritizing your education and the special program you were in the midst of building here.

Thank you for your leadership and community service, demonstrating that people with a platform should use it for a greater good.

Thank you for taking on “too much,” epitomizing the pursuit of personal excellence and proving that mental capacity truly is a state of mind.

Thank you for having the intestinal fortitude to attempt a backhand toe-drag against the Canadian World Junior team, netting a historic shootout winner that still gives me goosebumps to this day.

Thank you for not only choosing a legal education, but for starting your career at Stikeman Elliott, providing us with an opportunity to continue our collaborative success well into the future.

Thank you for each of your 117 regular season points as a Gael, surpassing an equally amazing person in Aaron Fransen and breaking the all-time defensive scoring record in our program’s 134-year history.

Thank you for being the first captain to raise the Queen’s Cup in 38 years—at home and in front of a sold-out crowd, just how you drew it up, right?

Thank you to your parents, Gary and Kim, and brothers, Brayden and Bryce, for raising a man of such incredible character.

And finally, thank you for the tears in my eyes every time I recall the lifelong memories you’ve provided us all with.

Sincerely,

Queen’s University

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