The family of a long-time Glasgow Clan fan Al McGourlay reckon the stars were aligned on the night thousands of fellow supporters staged an emotional minute’s applause in his honour after he passed away last week.
Al McGourlay, 64, from Renfrew had been supporting the Clan and attending their games every week since the team was formed in 2010.
But last Saturday night, when more than 3000 hockey fans paid the touching tribute to Al as the puck dropped in the game against Fife Flyers, at Braehead Arena, there was an amazing sequence of events that would have put a smile on the face of the much-loved Clan superfan.
Al’s wife, Gill – revealed that as well as Clan defeating arch rivals Flyers 4-2, Al’s favourite football team, Partick Thistle and the American NHL team he followed, Buffalo Sabres also won that day.
But there was an even more astonishing coincidence at the end of the Clan game when it was announced to loud cheers from the crowd that Al’s son Richard, had won £1,731.50 in the Clan’s 50/50 prize draw – one of the biggest prizes ever.
Gill said: “Last Saturday was was a very emotional night for all the family and the minute’s applause was a wonderful gesture from the fans who organised it and the club who announced it was happening beforehand.
“It was very touching to see just how well-liked Al was and how much he was respected by the fans.
“With everything that happened with Al’s favourite sports teams winning and Richard winning the 50/50 draw, the stars were certainly aligned for Al and he would have been well chuffed.”
Photo: Al and Gill McGourlay
Ice hockey even played a part in Al and Gill getting together eight years ago. They were introduced by a mutual friend and met up on a blind date before a Clan game at Braehead Arena.
Al’s son Richard said: “Winning the 50/50 prize draw on the same night as the fans applauded my dad was an unbelievable coincidence – it was surreal.” Adding with a smile: “And if my dad had a hand in bringing me some luck then I’d want to thank him for that!”
Richard continued: “In all the years I’ve been going to hockey with my dad we’ve never won a 50/50 draw. We would buy tickets every week and it was a running joke between us that we never even got close to winning.”
Clan fans also took to social media after it was announced Richard had won the 50/50 draw.
Emma Anderson posted on Facebook: “No such thing as a coincidence. Totally meant to be!”
Susan Cassidy also posted: “That was fate – your dad was with you tonight, well done.”
And Sam Currie posted: “Absolutely amazing. Had a tear in my eye. Definitely watching down on you all.”
Gareth Chalmers, managing director of Braehead Arena said: “Everyone at the Clan were saddened to hear of Al’s passing. He was definitely one of our super-fans and he’ll be missed by everyone involved with the Clan and Braehead Arena.
“And it’s probably the first time fans were pleased not to win the 50/50 draw and the prize went to Richard.”
Headline photo: Al’s son Richard, had won £1,731.50