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The Millville man they call 'Hockey'

Hockey Gale and his wife, Gerardine.
Hockey Gale and his wife, Gerardine.

MILLVILLE, N.L. - We’ve all heard our share of strange nicknames.

Many are derived from first or last names, interests, a funny story or an embarrassing tale.

Others are created through mispronunciations, intimate jokes or even slight insults to the person’s character.

When one considers the endless list of contributing factors, some may feel more blessed than most. Take local business owner Hockey Gale, for example.

Born and raised in Millville, Hockey Gale, whose real name is Edwin, has been going by his nickname for as long as he can remember.

Many are derived from first or last names, interests, a funny story or an embarrassing tale.

Others are created through mispronunciations, intimate jokes or even slight insults to the person’s character.

When one considers the endless list of contributing factors, some may feel more blessed than most. Take local business owner Hockey Gale, for example.

Born and raised in Millville, Hockey Gale, whose real name is Edwin, has been going by his nickname for as long as he can remember.

Gale’s wife Gerardine laughs when asked how she introduces her husband.

"People are going to think I'm crazy if I introduce him as Hockey," she said, quickly noting that she typically does.

"When I really want his attention, though, he's Edwin," she laughed.

“There’s a couple of different stories,” Gale said when asked how this unique nickname came about. “My father used to call me Hack when I was a little boy. My sister Susan, who was a couple years older, lengthened it to Hockey, and that name just stuck.”

“Some people, they just can’t believe that my name is Hockey, so they’re saying ‘hooky’ and all sort of different names,” he said with a laugh. Gale tends to introduce himself as Hockey, adding his real first name as a follow-up.

Gale said only his sisters call him by his birth name — Hockey has truly taken over as his title. In fact, during the hunt for Gale’s contact info, a relative in Port Aux Basques provided some information, noting she wasn’t sure whether or not Hockey was Gale’s real name.

Gale says this is common.

Most ironic, however, is the fact that Gale is admittedly not a huge fan of his namesake sport.

“Back when I was a kid, maybe,” he said. “There were only seven or eight teams and you knew every player on every team ... but no, not anymore. I’m not a hockey fan at all.

“I played the sport when I was younger … until about Grade 7 or 8. I joined the basketball team and gave up hockey.” He noted that his nickname did not change to reflect his new sporting interest.

Before Gale returned to work at his family owned and operated store, Gale E W Ltd., there was one final question: Any advice for kids out there who may be reading this and thinking, “My childhood nickname might stick around forever?”

“Well, yeah, there’s a good possibility it probably will,” Gale said with another laugh. “There were kids that I grew up who had nicknames, but when they moved away, they lost their nickname. I guess if I would have moved somewhere, maybe that would have happened.

“Guess I’ll never know.”

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