'He loved hockey and he loved being with his dad'
Father, son die on way home from hockey game
By Brian Shypula and Donal O'Connor
Updated 15 hours ago
SHAKESPEARE -- Ryan Wood scored a hat trick in the final hockey game of his young life, one in which he had already scored a much bigger goal - beating cancer.
The six-year-old and his father, Tim Wood, died in a two-vehicle crash coming home from that game in Embro Saturday morning. Wood, 38, a devoted dad to his three sons, helped coach his son's team.
"He loved hockey and he loved being with his dad," said Leanne Haffner, Ryan's aunt, speaking on behalf of the family Monday.
But that three-goal performance couldn't top a "scooch trick" Ryan netted earlier in the season. It was the name he gave to a five-goal game.
Ryan's nickname was "Scooch." His aunt explained he got it because he never crawled but instead pulled himself along on his bum with his feet. The family called it "scooching."
Haffner remembered a happier time yesterday, a family event held last summer. The No More Chemo party was a celebration of Ryan's final chemotherapy treatment on Aug. 19. He was diagnosed in 2008 with acute lymphoblastic leukemia , a cancer of the white blood cells.
Haffner said her nephew was a real fighter when it came to cancer and also showed maturity beyond his years helping other young patients who were just starting treatment.
"He'd tell them it would be OK and it gets better, it doesn't always seem this bad. He'd touch them and he'd make sure that they knew that it gets better," she said.
Tim Wood met his future wife Sara Dusky in 1997.
"He was always smiling. He made my sister very happy," Haffner said.
"They just complemented each other very well."
They spent more time together than most couples because they also worked for the same company - Stackpole in Stratford.
Wood's job was fixing machine breakdowns, which occasionally took him to Sara's machine.
"She didn't work beside him all the time, but just to see him every once in a while during the day is such a treat for them," Haffner said.
But when their children were younger the couple purposely worked opposite shifts to save on child- care expenses and always made sure someone was home for the boys.
"Tim was very responsible that way. He wanted his kids to have everything he could possibly get for them or do for them," Haffner said.
Stackpole human resources manager Roseanne MacDonald said the company brought in grief counsellors yesterday for any employees who needed help.
She described Wood as "very outgoing" and "devoted to his kids."
Stackpole and its employees were donating to a fund for the family, she said.
The Shakespeare community along with relatives and friends in Stratford and New Hamburg are mourning the tragic deaths.
Wood was an avid "car man" who enjoyed working on his vintage Pontiac GTO, antique cars and watching NASCAR. He coached minor soccer in addition to hockey.
"It's very, very sad," said Deb Kelterborn, president of the Shakespeare and Community Athletic Association.
Wood coached the atom travelling soccer team last season and had signed up to coach the intermediate travelling team this year, she said.
Besides hockey, Ryan also loved Hot Wheels, taking after his dad's interest in cars.
The Shakespeare community rallied behind the family during Ryan's bout with leukemia, organizing a fundraiser to help them with costs. Sara had to stop working when Ryan was sick.
The community was rallying behind the family again yesterday.
Jo Cole, a custodian at Sprucedale Public School where Ryan was in Grade 1, said friends put together a number of food trays at her house and signed cards and took them over to the Wood home.
"He was a hands-on dad, I'm telling you," she said of Wood. "They (the parents) are all about the kids. He was a wonderful man."
The Avon Maitland District School Board sent its Tragic Events Response team to Sprucedale yesterday to offer counselling to students and staff. Ryan's older brothers - Cody, who turned 12 on Thursday, and Jonathan, 10 - also go to Sprucedale.
"We're going through the day with a measure of sadness," said school principal David MacLennan, adding that it's also important to maintain a level of normalcy and routine for the pupils.
"The community has been wonderful and very supportive," he said. "Our thoughts are with the family and everyone affected."
Sara was at another game in Ayr with Jonathan when she learned of the tragedy. Haffner said police drove them home.
"The OPP and the Waterloo Regional (Police) were all so good with Sara," Haffner said.
Wood was driving a pickup truck that collided with a large feed truck during whiteout conditions north of Embro shortly before 10 a.m. He died at the scene. Ryan succumbed to his injuries at Stratford General Hospital.
The collision occurred on the 37th Line near Oxford County Road 6.
Police said Wood lost control of the pickup and veered into the path of the tanker, which was heading north on Oxford County Road 6.
The driver of the tanker truck was not injured.
Investigators are looking to speak with anyone who may have witnessed the collision and has not yet spoken to police. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Oxford OPP at 519-688-6540.
The funeral service will be held Thursday at 1 p.m. at Central United Church at 194 Avondale Ave. in Stratford.
An obituary was published in Monday's Beacon Herald.