Ian Seggie has a knack for making unexpected celebrity connections. Spend any time with him and you’ll hear amazing stories of how his former broadcasting career and interest in popular culture have led to close encounters with stars ranging from Carrie Fisher, Robin Williams and Michael J. Fox.
Like the rest of the community of Fort McMurray, he found himself living in temporary quarters during the evacuation period. He was in Calgary.
One night, while enjoying some social time with a friend at a local pub, he found himself at the same table with Sam Bennett and Johnny Gaudreau, two star players with the Calgary Flames of the National Hockey League.
“They were incredibly friendly,” he shared. “They not only closed down the place with us, they paid for the bill at the end of the night.”
That chance encounter with Sam and Johnny led to the idea of paying things forward during the Christmas season.
“We decided to have a smaller Christmas, in light of everything that has happened,” he said.
He visited the Saddledome, home of the Flames, and bought an official jersey from one of the sales kiosks, and asked what many people ask: “Is there any way I can get this signed by a player or two?”
The kind attendant suggested that he drop into the Flames office and speak to Kelsey McCay in public relations. He went right over and sat in the waiting room, inevitably sharing the fact that he was from Fort McMurray and that he wanted to get the jersey signed to raise money for the United Way in Fort McMurray.
“They were really interested in hearing what we went through,” he said.
The jersey was passed along to Kelsey who arranged to have it signed, not by one or two players, but by the entire 2016-17 Calgary Flames team.
“My hope is that this one-of-a-kind jersey can raise a lot of money for the community,” said Seggie. “The Flames organization was absolutely fantastic and went above and beyond to make this possible. We have experienced a lot of love for Fort McMurray and this is another shining example.”
The signed jersey will be on auction at the top of The United Way of Fort McMurray Facebook page throughout the month of January. The person with the highest bid at noon on January 31 will get to own it. All proceeds will go toward the 2017 United Way Community Campaign.