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Queen Elizabeth II's influence on Canadian sport, from portraiture to puck drop

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In Ontario, one of Queen Elizabeth II’s most famous portraits overlooks the ice at the Peterborough Memorial Center, a 90-minute drive northeast of Toronto. Since perched on her rafters, she’s been a regular on her local junior hockey team and attends occasional practices.

Zac Bierk was Pete’s goaltender, and in a quiet moment of the Ontario Hockey League season saw players first measure artwork and then take aim. Their goal was not just to make contact, but to fly the puck out of him one of his seven white teeth visible on the canvas.

“It’s not a lore. I witnessed it,” Biak said. “I don’t think it was ever considered disrespectful, but from the age of 16 he can get bored at the end of practice as a 20-year-old. It was a pretty fun game.”

Queen was part of the game that Canadians have been playing for generations, but not always in a literal way. She attended her first NHL game in 1951, two years before her coronation. She threw a party for the athletes at her Commonwealth Games. She has attended multiple of her CFL matches and she has traveled four times to watch Thoroughbred races at her plate in Queens.

She spent 10 days in Canada at the 1976 Montreal Olympics, watching her daughter Princess Anne compete in equestrianism. Her image has been seen on playing fields across the country, from Winnipeg, the former home of the Jets (her portrait size was reportedly 5 by 7 meters of her) to Peterborough. appeared.

Bierk had a special connection with the portrait of the latter. This portrait was painted by his late father, David.

“I’ve seen so many shots of perfect teeth,” Zach Biak said with a laugh. “Whatever varnish or lacquer he applied, he doesn’t seem to remember any puck marks left on it.”

The Queen was still a princess when she attended her first professional hockey game on October 13, 1951. Toronto Her Maple Her Leafs and Chicago Her Black Her Hawks held her 15 minute exhibition just for her. It was in her Gardens on the Maple Leaf and due to a busy royal schedule she arrived a few minutes late.

She saw her first full-length NHL game later that month at the Montreal Forum. Both the Canadiens and Rangers players were warned against being “rowsy” in her presence. After the brawl in the closing stages of the game, Canadiens coach Dick Irvin was quoted as saying, “Maybe they want to see a little pepper.”

The Queen did not participate in another NHL game for 51 years.

She returned to Vancouver in 2002 for a ceremonial showdown between the Canucks and the Sharks. A criminal background check and when to shake hands with the monarch (only if she reaches out first) or offer a hug (don’t even think about it).

“On the ice, she was told to put the puck on the blue dot on the center ice and hit a bang-on,” said Campbell-Pascall. “I think we were all there and realized the importance of this moment. It was a big moment. It was a standing ovation and it was really surreal.”

Campbell Pascall recently won gold as captain of the Canadian hockey team at the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics. She said the Queen touched the medal. “Wow, women play hockey?”

Campbell-Pascall has a framed photo of Puck Drop hanging in her office. Both Marks Naslund (Canucks) and Mike Rich (Sharks) teams are autographed by his captain, the “King” of Brantford, Ontario (Wayne Gretzky, who was also in the pack drop). There is none. Queen.

“It’s one of the coolest things I’ve had because it’s such a lovely moment,” she said. I made it.”

Canadian Olympian Diane Jones Konihawski shared several moments with the Queen, including the Royal Garden Party held before the Commonwealth Games. There was no such party when the 1978 Olympics were held in Edmonton, but I was a little concerned about my wardrobe.

Jones-Konihowski, one of Canada’s most famous athletes of the decade, was chosen to present the ceremonial baton to the Queen during the opening ceremony. Her protocol required her to bow before her monarch.

“And here I am in shorts,” Jones Konihawski said with a laugh.

She won a gold medal in the pentathlon. The Queen presented a medal.

“I think she was really a fan of sports and a fan of athletes,” said Jones Konihawski, member of the Order of Canada. “You can find all the different sporting events she was in. And she loved Canada.”

With her death, sports organizations are grappling with what to do with her legacy.

At Toronto’s Woodbine Racecourse, debate will soon take place over renaming the most famous horse race on the Canadian calendar. The organization’s chief executive, Jim Lawson, said CBC talks began this month and the Queen’s Plate could be named the King’s Plate.

At the Peterborough Memorial Center, a short drive away, flags were flown at half-mast, but the future of the Queen’s famous portrait was also email to athleticfacility manager Jeremy Giles said, “It will take time to consider how to properly preserve the portrait of Queen Elizabeth II.”

Alex Bierk suggested that his father’s work may remain in the arena.

“They retire jerseys where players stop playing,” he said. “City Hall has pictures of all past mayors.”

After living with leukemia, David Bierk died in 2002 at the age of 58. Sebastian Bierk was the lead singer of his rock band Skid Row. Heather Biak became a model and actress. Alex Bierk is an artist competing for a seat on Peterborough City Council this fall.

“I don’t think I heard that my father drew[the paintings]from him,” said Alex. “What I think I heard from someone at the Pete’s game was just a small part of the Memorial Center.

“I got a lot of stunned looks when I said it was my dad’s drawing,” said his brother Zack.

Zach Biak, 45, is currently the goalkeeping coach for the Ottawa Senators. Bierk doesn’t really consider himself an artist. He can still see some of his father’s work every time he stops by Los Angeles, Vancouver, Toronto, or at least one of his former teammate’s homes.

Sean Burke shared the net with Burke for part of two seasons with the Phoenix Coyotes.

Zak Biak spent a lot of time with his father’s portrait of the Queen. I’m here. That is, the goalkeeper is clearly visible.

“For me, it’s timeless,” said Zac Bierk. “When I spent the long nights in Peterborough, I was happy to look up at his father’s smile. Sometimes it made me feel better.”

(Photo: Kim Stallknecht/AFP via Getty Images)