Thank you, Captain

Queen’s alum and former Gaels hockey player Kevin Bailie thanks outgoing captain Patrick Sanvido

Patrick Sanvido leaves behind a legacy of leadership.
Credit: 
Supplied by Robin Kasem
Face shaved, teeth brushed, body washed. Check.
 
Final review of notes. Check. Suit dry-cleaned, shirt and tie ironed, shoes polished. Check.
 
Anxiety. Check.
 
“Alright,” I told myself, “I think I’m ready. Time to get dressed and head to the biggest interview of my life."
 
Wait. I’m out of underwear.
 
In a panic, I called out to my roommate—who I’d known for maybe a month—and tell him I need to borrow a pair of boxers. We hadn’t spoken that morning, as he’d left me alone, knowing instinctually I needed my space. 
 
Despite the odd request, I immediately heard his drawers open. A single question echoed from his room.
 
“What ones do you want?”
 
Fully appreciating I was in no position to be picky, with equal parts sarcasm, desperation, and urgency, I responded,“Your luckiest pair.”
 
The door opened. A now-familiar smirk appeared and I was handed a pile of tattered cloth loosely resembling something Hanes may have produced in the distant past.
 
“Here’s my luckiest… but they’re not my cleanest.”
 
Okay, we should probably rewind before I go any further.
 
      ***
 
In the summer of 2017, I was preparing for my fifth and final season as the goalie for the Queen’s men’s hockey team.
 
As a goalie, you’re only as good as your defensive group, and with a returning core of legendary veterans like Spencer Abraham, Cory Genovese, Graeme Brown, Nevin Guy and Warren Steele—along with some incoming junior studs—I was more than happy with our squad that year.
 
Then received a call from Coach Gibson. He told me a 6-foot, 6-inch draft pick of the Dallas Stars named Patrick Sanvido was interested in joining us. 
 
Admittedly, I was a little confused as to why such a sought-after player would voluntarily sign up to our stacked-depth chart, but one unforgettable recruiting trip later, I found myself helping “Patty” move into my apartment. 
 
I guess fate tends to make more sense after the fact. 
 
Since then, I’ve learned quite a lot about Patty. Almost as much as I’ve learned from him.
 
In an attempt to give back to the person who has taught me so much—and perhaps embarrass him a little in the process—I’d like to share a few of my thoughts on the greatest leader I’ve ever met.
 
For starters, Patty thinks he should have been born in the 1940’s. He’s an old soul, carries a distinct lack of enthusiasm for texting, social media, and any music that isn’t classic rock, and he is filled with a grit reminiscent 
of decades past.
 
Next, his large frame proudly displays physical badges earned from a lifelong passion for blocking frozen chunks of rubber, and his mind carries the insights of many adversities overcome outside the arena for equally as long.
 
Lastly, Patty is a fan of continuing tradition. Whether it’s handing off the sacred managerial keys to The Brass Pub or the figurative torch that has made its way through the Queen’s hockey program for the past 135 years, he’s helped ensure despite the pandemic, generations to come will still get to enjoy the same institutions he cares so 
deeply for.
 
Now, I can’t explain why Patty is built this way. I don’t think anyone can. But I have come to trust this: Patty wasn’t born in the wrong era, because great leaders like him arrive exactly when 
they’re needed most.
 
Patty: much like the Celtic warriors in our school’s namesake, you entered battle 120 times in tricolour—every single game possible, for those keeping track at home—and you were prepared to go out on your shield on any given shift. You were integral in bringing a championship back to Kingston, and while your specific scope of genius didn’t translate to much media attention, it certainly never went unnoticed amongst those gearing up beside you. 
Your biggest fans, Vicki, Homer, and Stella, along with myself and the rest of your family, are so incredibly proud of you. 
 
Whatever path life takes you down next, never forget there’s always a seat waiting for you at the head of any table I’m sitting at, Captain.

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