April 14, 2011
Three generations of hockey fans gather in Derek Whitlock’s living room to celebrate. No, his Habs have not won the Stanley cup; they haven’t even stepped on the ice yet. The cause for this celebration is Derek’s mom Margaret won first prize in her first ever hockey pool, $948.50.
Fifty-nine year old Margaret Whitlock entered a pool called Ron’s Rookies hosted by HockeyDraft.ca back in September; a box selection pool where she chose one of five players in each of 21 different boxes. The points each player accumulates during the season are totalled and the person in the pool with the most points for all of their players wins. Pool members have the option to trade up to two players and one goalie before the Christmas holiday break. Margaret was in fourth place before trading Vincent Lecavalier for Mike Richards and Jason Pominville for Mike Krejci. These two trades boosted her to first place; a position she never let go of.
A self proclaimed hockey mom, Margaret grew up watching the Leafs play. She is a diehard fan because she was born in Toronto and was “brain washed” by her father. However Margaret is also a fan of good hockey (no offence Toronto). She watched her husband Cecil play his way up through the Fredericton Minor Hockey Association. “I’d go to the rink and watch him play, I’d be the only one in the rink sometimes,” she said. Cecil was with the Fredericton Industrial League then. “And the boys both played, we went to all their games.”
Son Derek remembers most of their family vacations were scheduled around the various tournaments. Today he plays in the Fredericton Gent’s League and is an avid Habs fan. Brother Todd is a Philadelphia fan and Cecil say he just likes good hockey. With all being fans of different teams the rivalry is fierce, and Margaret is right in the thick of things. “Mom will call me, Toronto and Montreal will play on Saturday, and if Toronto wins she’ll call me the next day on Sunday morning and be like, ‘I didn’t see the game last night, do you know who won?’” Derek said. Todd chimes in that she doesn’t call very often; the living room gets loud with banter. Even two year-old Alexa gets in the action; Margaret asks her granddaughter what Daddy tells her to cheer. “Go Habs Go,” Alexa yells. When asked what Uncle Todd tells her to cheer, Alexa says “Boo Habs Boo!”
Margaret admits she had help choosing her players and joked about sharing her winnings; however she also mentioned a shopping trip to Bangor, Maine on the weekend. The trip had been planned earlier but wasn’t a sure thing; her winnings in hand she announced she would be going. Whether Derek, Todd or Cecil will see their share is uncertain, however Alexa quickly deposited the $3.50 in coin into her piggy bank.
In a pool dominated by men this is the first time a woman has won the big prize. Previously Chelsea Stevens won a $100 third prize in a regular season pool, but that’s the extent of the ladies’ luck to date.
As administrator for the hockey pool, I have always rooted for any “girls” who have entered. My message board will wish everyone luck but always there is the tag “Go Girls”. For the regular season 2010-2011 online access the password was ‘gogirls2010’, appropriately the password for the playoff pool is ‘yaygirls’. Incidentally there are 8 entries from the Whitlock family this time, good luck to them all, but of course Go Girls!