BEDFORD - Jordan Boyd’s own shocking and sudden death may have saved his older brother’s life.
After the 16-year-old hockey player from Bedford, seemingly healthy and strong, collapsed and died while training on ice with the Bathurst Titan last summer, his entire family underwent heart screening.
That includes older brother Greg Dobson, who was subsequently diagnosed with an uncommon condition called Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, or WPW, which required 15 hours of surgery to repair.
“It was deemed life-threatening,” 22-year-old Dobson said Monday. “It was so unique, that it was the first surgery of its kind in Canada, and second of its kind in the world.”
So it was an easy choice for Dobson to lead the Jordan Boyd Celebrity Hockey Challenge, taking place Saturday, Aug. 2 at the BMO Centre. The first-ever event features eight teams and star power from pros such as Andrew Bodnarchuk, Brad Marchand, James Sheppard and Shawn O’Donnell.
Proceeds will go toward the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada and the Jordan Boyd Leadership Award, a given to amateur players who demonstrate leadership and sportsmanship.
“Since then, I have found out that I’ve been diagnosed with the gene for the condition that Jordan had,” Dobson said of arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy, or ARVD for short.
“I go to the gym, but I need to be cautious of not straining myself,” Dobson said. “With Jordan, he put weights on his vest and ran up and down Citadel Hill, followed by an hour at the gym, followed by an hour on ice, almost every day of the week when he was training for the QMJHL.”
The Jordan Boyd Celebrity Hockey Challenge comes close to the one-year anniversary of his Aug. 12, 2013 death.
“It’s tough,” Dobson said. “There’s always something that doesn’t quite feel the same, but we are a very strong family.”
Check out www.jordanboyd.ca to find out how to register a team or donate. Updates are also on Twitter @hkychallenge.
“For him, hockey never ended,” Dobson said.