September 3, 2011
Mourners numb as they prepare for Belak's funeral
By Mike Zeisberger, QMI Agency
To those who didn’t really know Wade Belak, that his funeral service at the Woodland Christian Church will be held across the street from a Boys Scouts of America centre doesn’t seem to hold much relevance.
But to friends and family who will congregate there Sunday to say goodbye to Belak while celebrating his life, it makes perfect sense.
From Tie Domi to Bryan McCabe, those in attendance remember Belak as a kid in a man’s body; a playful, fun-loving chap who always seemed to be a boy scout at heart.
That’s why, just days after Belak was found dead in a Toronto condo, people who started arriving here in Nashville on Saturday to pay their respects found themselves still numb and in a state of shock.
They ask: How could this happen? And why?
According to Nashville Predators coach Barry Trotz, those answers may never be known.
This much is certain: According to Lorraine Belak’s mother, Belak was dealing with depression.
But how did it ever get to the point that police found him dead from an apparent suicide on Wednesday?
“All I know is that my heart goes out to him and his family,” Domi said during his flight to Nashville.
The outpouring of love and support for Belak’s wife Jennifer and daughters Andie, 7, and Alex, 5, is overwhelming here.
Domi and former Maple Leafs trainer Scott McKay arrived here Saturday morning, where they were expected to be joined by ex-teammates Bryan McCabe, Darcy Tucker and EDGE 102.1 morning man Dean Blundell, among others.
By the time the service kicks off Sunday afternoon, the grand ole church is expected to be shoehorned with hockey dignitaries including many Predator players.
In Saturday’s edition of the Tennessean, David Legwand, Belak’s closest chum on the team, penned a full page ad which he said echoed the sentiments of the entire Preds’ organization.
Entitled “In Loving Memory of Wade Belak,” Legwand claimed the personable pugilist “made us all laugh, whether it was with you or at you.”
Stating Belak was “loved” by all the guys he played with, Legwand said “you represented everything good about the game and its players.”
Meanwhile, while Sunday’s service takes place in Nashville, a group of current and ex-Leafs and other NHLers including Jeff O’Neill will hold an informal gathering in Toronto to toast their friend and former teammate — one they will always remember as a kid at heart.