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the political wife goes behind the bench

Posted by Gill Deacon on February 28, 2012


grant, as you may know, is a hockey coach. but he’s not just a guy with a clipboard and a loud bark behind the bench—quite the opposite, actually. his team list is usually crumpled up in his coat pocket, and his voice is all gentle encouragement. i think it might be fair to say that for every kid he’s ever coached he quickly becomes the most beloved figure of their sporting career. he’s fair, he’s funny, and he takes bad news bears-style teams and turns them into champions. don’t ask me how he does it. i don’t know the first thing about hockey. (though i pretended i did the night i first met grant at my cousin’s wedding, the night the montreal canadiens were playing in game 7 of the first round of the 1992 playoffs. “i live in montreal, i’m a *huge* habs fan, sure i’d *love* to watch the game with you and your friends…”)

anyway, that’s the point. i don’t know anything about hockey and grant knows everything, including how to put a smile on the face of every kid in the dressing room after the game, no matter the score.

so when grant realized this past weekend that the campaign needed him at an event being held at the same time as our  son miles’ hockey game , and asked if would i mind taking miles instead, i said yes of course. but then he added, “grab the team list from my dresser. you might have to coach if the other dads aren’t there.”

i consider myself quite a fearless person. i have bungee-dived off a 300-foot trestle bridge, eaten mopani worms on a trip to visit grant’s sister in south africa, and, perhaps most frighteningly, driven alone across the province with three boys in the backseat (and no dvd player).

but replacing grant behind the bench with a team of 8 year-olds on skates? i broke into a full sweat at the very thought.

ah, but the candidate doesn’t need any extra stress, right? so the political wife said “sure thing” without hesitation.

and now i get to tell you about how cool a campaign team grant has.

seeing the queasy look on my face, the beads of sweat forming at my temples as the clock ticked toward the appointed hour of my first foray into the coach’s corner, catherine, one of the lovely worker bees at the GG office asked me what was going on. when i explained my predicament, she said, “don’t worry, we’ll get jonathan to go with you!”

jonathan? the handsome young liberal wrangling volunteers downstairs?

“he used to play hockey! i’m sure he’d love to help.”

30 minutes later, i sat in dressing room #2 at the leaside rink, watching jonathan aptly lacing skates and introducing himself to the team. the political wife heaved a huge sigh of relief.

along with a very kind dad, jonathan the young liberal volunteer stood behind the bench and helped coach miles’ team to a landslide victory. he told me later, and more than once, it was the highlight of his day.


Gill Deacon lives in Toronto-Danforth with her husband Grant Gordon and their three sons. She is a regular contributor to, giving us a peek behind the scenes during the political campaign.

You can follow her on Twitter at @gilldeacon

Jonathan Scott is not only a hockey coach and campaign volunteer, but also the author of The Good Guy, a profile of Grant Gordon published on

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