Vancouver peewee hockey team creates video to find coach a kidney

The video message is simple: The members of the Spirit, a Vancouver Minor Hockey Association Peewee A2 hockey team need your help to find a kidney for their coach, Stephen Gillis.

Last summer Gillis was sick and thought it was related to his Crohn’s disease, but it was discovered that he had developed a rare form of kidney disease.

“They let me know that my blood was basically vinegar and that it wasn’t being cleaned for a while,” Gillis told The Canadian Press. “I developed a rare kidney disease because of my Crohn’s disease.”

After being up for a while, his kidney levels went back down and dialysis will be needed soon to keep his blood clean. Despite all he’s been through, Gillis hasn’t missed a Spirit practice.

Team captain Jordan Stewart and his teammates wanted to do something for their coach who’s dedicated so much time to teaching them the game.

“We just thought it would be a really good thing to make a video for him because he’s such a great coach and he’s a really caring and great person,” Jordan said.

The sport of hockey and the act of finding a kidney donor has worked once before. Last season, Kelly Sowatsky attended a Pittsburgh Penguins game holding a sign that featured her phone number and a message about her seeking a kidney donor. The team’s official Twitter account sent out a photo of the sign and the response was tremendous.

On Nov. 6, Sowatsky got her new kidney, thanks to fellow Penguins fan Jeff Lynd.

Hopefully soon the same can be said for Gillis.


Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

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