The decision to name a lake after Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews in his native Manitoba was not met with universal approval, as the mother of a fallen soldier believes her son should have received the honor before the hockey star.
Shirley Seggie, whose son Michael Seggie was killed in Afghanistan in 2008, said that while she harbors no ill will toward Toews, she believes the priority system dealing with this honor is misplaced.
"My son went to war to fight for freedom so he [Toews] could do what he's doing," Seggie told ESPNChicago.com on Friday. "No ill feeling towards Jonathan at all. The government has put him in a position where it's backfired on them. My son's life is just as important as anyone out there."
The Vancouver Sun first reported Seggie's disappointment in the system. She told ESPN Chicago that she believes politics played a role.
"I'm not sure what's going on, but there is an election in the near future," she said. "It's all about votes and elections.
"The city and province were tripping over each other to do the best for this guy [Toews]. He deserves the recognition, but he's the first sports star to get a lake named after him in Manitoba."
Toews, who's from Winnipeg, won an Olympic gold medal and Stanley Cup title this year.
The Sun quoted Manitoba chief protocol officer Dwight MacAulay as saying Toews was not fast-tracked past fallen soldiers.
"The process for naming a lake after Jonathan is completely separate from the process used when a soldier is killed in Afghanistan," MacAulay told the Sun. "Every Manitoban soldier who is killed in battle is automatically nominated for a geographic fixture. But under a national policy, there is a mandated three-year wait period before we can go about naming."
Seggie refutes that assertion and said two soldiers who died in 2007 and one in '09 are going to have lakes named after them.
A call to Manitoba's Commemorative Names Project, which handles naming geographic features after fallen soldiers, was not returned.
MacAulay told the Sun that Seggie's son will be one of five soldiers the province honors this November around Remembrance Day.
Toews' agent, Pat Brisson, did not have a comment on the subject.
Jesse Rogers covers the Blackhawks for ESPNChicago.com.