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Mother of dead soldier objects to lake being named after Jonathan Toews

Jul 15, 2010, 10:30 PM EDT

When we first heard that the Province of Manitoba would name one of its many lakes after local star Jonathan Toews on July 7, it seemed harmless (and amusing) enough.

What we didn’t know was that the region has a tradition of naming lakes after fallen soldiers, a tradition that apparently was infringed upon – at least according to one distressed parent – when Toews was given the honor of having a lake named after him. The Vancouver Sun captures the disapproval of Shirley Seggie, whose son Michael was killed in Afghanistan in 2008.

Among those complaining that the honour is undeserved is the mother of a soldier killed in Afghanistan.

“While it is commendable that Jonathan Toews has accomplished so much in his short life thus far, I feel it is a travesty he has had a lake named after him,” said Shirley Seggie.

“Our son Cpl. Michael James Alexander Seggie was killed in action in 2008 . . . thus far there has been no lake named after him despite a program that is in place to name lakes after military personnel killed in action.”

The program Seggie mentions is Manitoba’s own Commemorative Names Project, a program solely dedicated to naming geographic features after fallen soldiers. As it turns out Seggie’s son will be one of the five soldiers the province will honour this November.

“Every Manitoban soldier who is killed in battle is automatically nominated for a geographic fixture,” said MacAulay. “But under a national policy there is a mandated three-year wait period before we can go about naming.”

Follow the link to read a little bit more about the minute details of the case, as it seems like it might be more of an issue of bureaucracy as it is about anything else, as Puck Daddy’s Greg Wyshynski mentions in his story about the controversy.

There aren’t many sports writers who avoid falling into the habit of calling an athlete a “warrior” for risking an elbow to the head to score a goal or [insert other dangerous sports scenario]. It’s an understandable habit, but perhaps this is another reminder that we take sports a bit too seriously.

Luckily, Seggie’s son will receive that honor in November, so it seems like this situation won’t get too ugly.

  1. Brei - Jul 16, 2010 at 1:50 AM

    I do not understand. In what way is this a travesty? I could understand, if a fallen solider was over looked or the tradition of honoring a soldier was abandoned in favor of honoring an athlete’s accomplishments, But that is not what happened here. Both of these men are being honored by Manitoba, because they represented Manitoba by giving their all/best in the profession they had chosen. Though it is impossible to imagine what the family of a fallen soldier is going through (unless you have gone through it yourself), I have to say, it seems that they feel as if ONLY the military is to be honored, as if no one else deserves recognition.
    Manitoba chose this method to show honor, applying it across the board. . . and yes, they honor all fallen soldiers, but it does not mandate that only fallen soldier’s deserve the honor.

  2. Me - Jul 16, 2010 at 9:39 AM

    This was very shortsighted. Bumping Toews to the head of the queue over those who gave their lives for their country is sad. As far as Toews having given his ‘all’ – hardly. He still has his life ( and millions of dollars to go with it). At the very least his name should have gone to the end of the queue. I hope this sleight wasn’t someone making some sort of political statement.

  3. stan lee - Jul 16, 2010 at 10:31 AM

    this lady is being selfish. i would skip over her when they name more lakes for dead soldiers

  4. Carmen - Jul 29, 2010 at 10:41 PM

    Jonathan is a great leader in many aspects of his life. In his short career so far he has accomplished a lot. Many look at him as a role model. Not just to grow up and play hockey but to be of his stature, a very mature young man who has worked extremely hard to accomplish his goals. It is an honor to have your name recognized whether it be on a sidewalk, billboard, community centre, or lake. Their are many soldiers who have put their lives at stake to fight for our country. For over a century there have been hundreds of services held to honor these men and women. Many soldiers have died in war and I don’t think that there are enough lakes to be named for each soldier. I think that maybe naming a lake after Jonathan was for people to look ahead into the future and not the past. There are very few people who have accomplished what Jonathan has and Manitoba should be very proud that he comes from such a great province. Manitoba is also proud of the men and women that have and are fighting for our country. Lets not argue over something like having a lake named after u. Jonathan was and is very humble. Miss Seggie, I don’t think your son would want you to be upset over something like this. I believe you are dishonouring your son by acting in this way. I commend him for his actions, but not yours.

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