For many fans of the National Hockey League Scott Oake is a fixture of Hockey Night in Canada , but very little is known about him outside of his on-air persona.
In a recent interview with the Winnipeg Free Press Oake opened up about the tragic loss of his son, Bruce Oake, and perhaps more importantly used the platform as a way to send out a message to families currently dealing with drug addiction.
Scott's son Bruce was a successful athlete and battle rapper, but all of that fell by the wayside when he became addicted to heroin, a drug that slowly caused his life to unravel before it eventually took him away from his family.
The Oake family thought they were doing everything right, and they honestly may have been doing just that, but the grip of a severe drug addiction can be unrelenting, a lesson they had to learn the hard way.
"We dismissed it because we were a family that was doing everything right to address this problem," Scott recalls. "He was going to go to detox. He was going to go to this private facility outside of Toronto. And this was going to fix it. And we were all going to go back to our happy little lives. How could this not work?"
It's a lesson that the Oake family doesn't want anyone other families to learn, and understandably so, however their efforts to prevent any further tragedies go above and beyond what could be reasonable expected of any family.
They’re determined to fund a $14-million drug treatment centre in Winnipeg in Bruce’s memory.
After years of heartbreak, late-night distress calls and watching him go from an exuberant, carefree kid to a 140-pound junkie and drug dealer, the family’s motivation is straightforward.
"To make his life mean something," Scott says, "is what is driving us."
We of course wish them nothing but success in their goal, especially if it can prevent further loss of life, or even just prevent other families from suffering the way they have.