What started out as a usual Wednesday night for volunteer Christopher Lakusta as he prepared to start rolling to capture the Kodiaks’ latest home game live – took a surprising turn.
What the 31-year-old hockey buff from Aldergrove didn’t know – was that something special was about to happen.
Lakusta was “just doing his job,” waiting to hit “record” on the Kodiaks’ fourth playoff game against Mission City on March 4.
But as time went on, the game didn’t start.
A red carpet was rolled out and Kodiaks’ co-owner Ingrid Harkins motioned for the long-time volunteer to come with her out onto the ice.
“I was speechless,” he told the Aldergrove Star.
After getting used to working behind the scenes at games, Lakusta was himself thrust into the spotlight and a roar of arena applause.
“It was very touching and I don’t feel that very often,” he admitted.
Harkins and assistant general manager Roy El Caswell then presented Lakusta with a “Volunteer of the Decade” plaque, a personalized game-worn Kodiaks jersey, and a lifetime pass to all Pacific Junior Hockey League games.
RESULTS OF THE GAME: Kodiaks oust Outlaws, advancing to final playoff match for PJHL title
The Aldergrove resident has spent his last 10 years volunteering weekly to bring the sights and sounds of the game to online viewers. He’s even helped keep score as a goal judge, with a close eye on net.
“Volunteering has just always been in me,” Lakusta said, mentioning his previous decade of volunteering as a Scout leader.
“Being paid for it would just ruin the fun,” he said.
It’s because Lakusta is a true fan of the thriving Junior B Kodiaks that he continues to support them in such a way.
He’s also known team owners – including Rick Harkins – since he was 8 years old, when he played baseball with their son Travis.
“It’s part of the reason why I came to watch the team at first,” he said.
Lakusta remembers being 19 when he first heard that Aldergrove was starting its own Junior B hockey team.
He even recalls the exact day: “ Sept 3, 2008,” Lakusta said.
As a curious 3-year-old, Lakusta has fond memories of watching Langley rookies earn their stripes on the ice at George Preston.
His mom, who then worked at the recreation centre, would take him to see games.
“I remember seeing Scott Gomez play for the Surrey Eagles,” Lakusta lauded.
Then, “he was drafted in 1998 to the New Jersey Devils – he’s a legend.”
Ever since those days Lakusta’s had a sincere interest in the development of local hockey players and teams.