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New batting cage unveiled, named after slain teen Chance Gauthier


In an emotional tribute to their slain son Chance, Kim and Scott Gauthier cut the ribbon Saturday morning for a new batting cage donated in his memory.

Friends, family, little league officials and many others who remembered Chance with great fondness, gathered at Optimist Memorial Park on Ypres Avenue for the opening of Windsor Central Little League’s long-awaited batting cage. Chance was 16 when he was fatally shot last year.

Kim said it was an honour to have the batting cage named after her son, “because he would have wanted to be able to help the community.”

In the wake of Chance’s death, people showed their support to the Gauthier family with an outpouring of donations.

Last May 28, when Chance would have turned 17, the Gauthiers donated $3,000 to the league for a batting cage in memory of Chance — who was known for his athleticism and big heart.

“He always had a great heart and it definitely shocked the community when it happened,” Kim said of Chance’s passing. “He had lots of friends, so this will be nice.”

He was just a good kid

Chance’s body was found face down in an alley in the 900 block of Church Street in the morning of Feb. 14, 2018. He’d been shot in the head. Police arrested a Waterloo man, Mal Chol , three days later on charges of kidnapping, forcible confinement, and first-degree murder. Nouraldin Rabee remains wanted on the same charges.

A true athlete, Chance excelled in many sports including baseball, basketball, lacrosse, broomball and “any school sport he could get his hands on,” according to his mom, making the batting cage a meaningful fit.

“It didn’t matter what he touched — it just turned to gold,” Kim said. “Some children are very blessed to be able to be intellectual in school, but his was sports — he was just shining all the way through.”

The batting cage was long awaited — the league had been working on getting one for more than 21 years. After Windsor Central Little League suffered a demoralizing break-in and theft last year, the Gauthiers decided to help by making the donation.

“When they gave us the donation it just was kind of the pushing force to make it happen,” said league president Donna Standel.

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Windsor Central Little League has baseball and T-ball programs for kids as young as four — a group Chance connected with.

“The thing I probably remember the most about Chance was not his energy or his athletic ability, but it was the way he connected with the younger kids in our community and was a role model to them,” Chance’s Grade 4 teacher, Sean Hooper told the crowd.

Hooper, who coached Chance in basketball and soccer at the former Our Lady of Lourdes elementary school, feels the batting cage is an ideal way to honour Chance. Hooper said he could picture Chance standing outside the cage with his big smile, encouraging kids with a “nice hit” comment and a high-five.

Hooper is also helping to coach the league’s junior team and said the cage will be a nice addition to the park after the vandalism that occurred last year.

“It’s a nice thing for the park, for the younger kids to kind of have a place to come and hit — which is great.”

The Gauthiers hope their grandchildren will make use of the park, see the cage named after their uncle and play a sport they enjoy as a way to connect with him.

Kim said she’ll probably be using the cages to hit some therapeutic balls out of the park.

“He just touched so many people,” she said of Saturday’s turnout. “He was just a good kid.”

lcharlton@postmedia.com

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