You know you’re a dedicated Victoria Royals fan when Marty the Marmot makes a surprise appearance at your wedding reception.
It happened this past summer when Reginald Todd Jr. married longtime girlfriend Vicki.
“Dad (Reginald Todd Sr.) was fighting back tears of joy all day until Marty showed up,” said Todd Jr. “It was too much, he lost it.”
To be fair, it’s the looks on the kids’ faces, knowing the effect a visit from Marty would have, that may have brought a tear to Todd Sr.’s eye.
Marty’s card hangs proudly in the living room of the Todd family home in Sooke, where 11 members of the extended clan gathered recently. All were clad in official Royals sweaters – most with a personalized nickname – except for Nathan’s great grandmother Fran, who cuddled Nathan’s three-week-old brother Parker.
“I emailed Marty and invited him to the wedding, I figured it was worth a shot,” said Todd Jr.’s daughter Sarah, sporting the Royals’ black third jersey.
While Todd Jr., 53, and Sr., 74, are season ticket members, they’re usually joined by many of the family who take up swath of seats behind the net for Royals home games at Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre.
Todd Jr.’s three-year-old grandson Nathan will take his regular spot on his grandfather’s lap for the upcoming Family Day matinee game on Monday, Feb. 9, when the Royals host the reigning Memorial Cup champion Edmonton Oil Kings.
“It started with the Victoria Salmon Kings a few years ago and grew when the Royals came, that’s when the family really started going together,” said Todd Jr.
Coincidentally, the family swelled in size once Todd Jr. and Vicki began dating, as both have children in the late teens and early 20s. It’s a Brady Bunch, if you will, with a Royals’ spin. “We have a daughter whose boyfriend comes to a lot of the games, and there’s others, a neighbour’s boy who just wants to come and sit with us because it’s fun,” said Todd Jr. “We have a lot of fun. We used to be an even bigger group when my sister’s family sat with us. They’re still at the games and we visit.”
Last year Todd Sr. and Jr. took to the road to support the Royals in the playoffs. It stands out as one of their favourite Royals’ experiences to date.
“The people in Spokane were so friendly, they were grateful we came and really made us feel welcome,” Todd Jr. said. “The Royals swept that series, and the people there were still so nice, wishing us and the Royals well when we left.”
Todd Sr.’s wife Fran can’t go to live hockey games anymore: the chemicals from the ice affect her breathing. But she continues to knit Royals-themed scarves. She’s made 22 in all, proudly worn by members of the family and gifted to players such as Coleman Vollrath.
The Todd family may also have one of its own on the Royals, as Vicki is cousins with the Royals’ Griffin Outhouse, a promising goaltending prospect in the B.C. Major Midget League.