On any given weekend you might find Oshawa, Ontario's Rob Weir catching a pass from former National Hockey League legend Darryl Sittler, attempting to deke around hall-of-famer Marcel Dionne, or ducking and dodging the elbows and slashes of the Hanson Brothers of Slap Shot fame.
Swirling around the ice with former pros is an unlikely place for a guy like Weir, who didn't even start playing hockey until the age of 20, but he's got a good reason. Weir's the program coordinator of the Heart & Stroke Foundations' Hockey For Heart series of charitable hockey tournaments across Ontario. It's his job to play hockey with the pros.
"It's the greatest job in the world," says Weir, 40, with that same sense of awe as a 10-year-old autograph seeker by the side doors of the Air Canada Centre. "I'm literally getting paid to play hockey with [former Toronto Maple Leafs great] Wendel Clark."
Getting to share the ice with the likes of Clark came with a cost, though. The whole reason the Hockey For Heart tournaments exist is because Weir witnessed his own father Roger Weir have a heart attack on the ice at the age of 46 while playing a game with him in 1993.
"I was sitting on the bench, looked down at the other end of the ice where the play was, looked back at my dad and saw that he had fallen over and instantly knew that something wasn't right because I knew it wasn't from something that had happened during the play," Weir recalls of that tragic night.
* Samaritanmag.com is an online magazine covering the good deeds of individuals, charities and businesses.