by Brett Hedges
The Lance – Sports Editor
In the eyes of Lynda Leckie, the Windsor Lancer women’s volleyball team had already won prior to their three-set victory against the Brock Badgers.
The Lancers athletic program celebrated Breast Cancer Awareness Day Jan. 31 and surprised Leckie, a long-time assistant coach of the women’s volleyball team, with a special pre-game ceremony honoring her battle against breast cancer, which she won nearly 10 years ago.
A group of former players and close friends came to see Leckie honored with a standing ovation and a framed commemorative jersey with her daughter’s number on it. The Lancers also decided to have Leckie’s initials, “L.L.” to be permanently added to the Lancers special pink jerseys, to be worn each year on Breast Cancer Awareness Day.
As Leckie wept during the ovation, the Lancers men’s volleyball in attendance team chanted “Lynda Leckie” until the ceremony ended.
“I was blown away, I had no idea,” said Leckie. “I knew a couple family members of mine were coming but I didn’t know that my best friends of over 30 years would be here … it’s overwhelming to see all these people come out and support me and the fight against breast cancer like this.”
Once the match began, an emotional Leckie could be seen on the Windsor bench, still focused on the opponent, the Brock Badgers. The Lancers, who had struggled to start the second half of the regular season, won the first set convincingly and continued by sweeping the three-set match against the Badgers.
“This was their first win of 2015,” said Leckie. “If I can be the reason for that or have anything to do with that, I’ll take it, absolutely.”
After the sweep, it seemed as though everyone at St. Denis Centre had a smile on their faces. Lancer Shannon Dean said it was fun being part of the pre-game ceremony honouring Leckie’s courageous bout with breast cancer.
“We had everyone in on it, her whole family, everything, she absolutely had no idea,” said Dean. “I think it was awesome to tribute this game to her and to win like that. It’s a solid win.”
Lancer head coach Lucas Hodgson said it was impressive for his team to step up and play well on top of being a part of Leckie’s special day.
“I’ve known Lynda ever since I came into the OUA,” said Hodgson. “She’s done a lot for my family, she’s done a lot for me and for these girls. To be able to honour her 10-year anniversary, is something that feels special. It was awesome that we could honour her achievement and honour everything she’s done for the program.”
With a 5-12 record, the Lancers are tied with Western for the final playoff spot in the OUA and will complete their regular season on the road with games against the Nippissing Lakers and York Lions Feb. 7 and 8.