Skip to main content

The Globe and Mail

Seniors enjoying post-hockey beer pluck woman, dogs from icy river

Oldtimer hockey players (from left) Bert Kent, Bob Reid and Tom Blair celebrate their success after rescuing a woman and her two dogs after they plunged through the ice of the Thompson River in Kamloops, B.C., on Jan. 23, 2013.

Keith Anderson/Kamloops Daily News / The Canadian Press

An oldtimers hockey team hit the ice as darkness fell Wednesday, but they weren't chasing a puck.

The Old Dogs jumped into action and probably saved the lives of a woman and two dogs after they plunged into the water from a ledge of ice along the Thompson River.

Team members were having a few beers with a clear view of the riverfront a stone's throw away when they saw the woman and the dogs break through the ice.

Story continues below advertisement

"We were just trying to help the young lady out of the river when she went in," Bert Kant told the Kamloops Daily News while drying out after his January dip.

"I missed the Polar Bear Swim," he quipped, adding "We can laugh because everything is OK."

Kathryn Easton was walking her brother's dog along the shore when the animal fell into the river. With another, smaller dog on her shoulders, she tried to rescue the canine on her own.

"We watched her go down," said Yvonne Johnson, another witness.

"That water's cold and it's running. It could have been a catastrophe."

Knowing the risks of compounding the crisis – the ice is unstable, especially at its outer edges – they seized a flag and used the pole to extend their reach.

"You can see where it opened up," said Paul Bourassa, another team member. "We thought she was trying to get the dog. In fact, she was in trouble. She's lucky, that woman."

Story continues below advertisement

Though air temperatures have warmed slightly, the water remains extremely cold. Someone immersed in the river wouldn't have long before they lost strength.

"It's not a shock when you need to do something," said Bob Reid, one of the rescuers who got wet.

"She would have drowned, no question," added teammate Tom Blair.

By the time police arrived, all were safely ashore.

Paramedics checked Easton's vitals after the incident and she was reported to be OK. Wrapped in a blanket in the back of a police car, she wanted to say thanks to her rescuers.

Report an error

The Globe invites you to share your views. Please stay on topic and be respectful to everyone. For more information on our commenting policies and how our community-based moderation works, please read our Community Guidelines and our Terms and Conditions.

We’ve made some technical updates to our commenting software. If you are experiencing any issues posting comments, simply log out and log back in.

Discussion loading… ✨

Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

Thank you!

You are now subscribed to the newsletter at

You can unsubscribe from this newsletter or Globe promotions at any time by clicking the link at the bottom of the newsletter, or by emailing us at