EVERETT — A personal hero was born for Harry Mahood during a weekly car ride with his mother-in-law in 2006.
Mahood, a first year assistant coach with the Everett Silvertips, drove his wife’s mother, Helen Langager, 45 minutes to and from their home in Scottsdale, Arizona, to the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix as Langager was receiving radiation treatment for Stage 2 breast cancer.
After about four weeks of sharing many conversations to pass the time, Mahood turned to Langager and asked, “How do you do it?”
“You’re not bitter, you’re not unhappy,” Mahood continued. “You’re not bitter about mortality. It’s unbelievable how mentally tough you are and how positive you are.
“She looked right over to me and said: ‘Hoody, what other choice do I have?’ She was already a really big hero to me … but that’s something that carried with me the rest of my life.”
Langager was the first prominent woman in Mahood’s life to battle through breast cancer. His wife, Sarah Mahood, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015 and eventually beat the disease, just like her mother almost a decade prior.
When Mahood finally saunters out to Everett’s bench on Friday night for the Silvertips’ 10th annual “Pink the Rink” event and witnesses the Silvertips donning custom breast cancer awareness jerseys and pink strewn throughout the crowd, he will undoubtedly be overcome with emotion.
“It speaks to why I wanted to work for the Silvertips and why my wife and I have chosen to work with (Everett majority owner Consolidated Sports Holdings) for the past five or six seasons,” Mahood said. “First and foremost, they are community oriented, they care about the kids they are working with everyday and they take these great steps to give back through these initiatives like this one … it just makes it feel right.”
The 10th annual “Pink the Rink” event raises money for Providence General Foundation, which provides mammography, disease prevention and breast cancer care for people with financial barriers in Snohomish County.
Mahood, born near Winnepeg, Manitoba, Canada, was a prolific scorer during his Western Hockey League career, totalling 232 points in 202 WHL games between 1979 and 1983. His career followed tumult, though, with three franchises folding/relocating during his four stops, as Great Falls lasted 28 games in 1979-1980 before ceasing operations midseason, the Spokane Flyers shut their doors midway through 1982 and Billings relocated to Nanaimo after the 1982 season.
Mahood’s last stop in coaching was alongside current Silvertips head coach Dennis Williams as an assistant for the Springfield Thunder in the United States Hockey League (USHL) and in 2013-2014 for the Amarillo Bulls (NAHL). He stepped away from coaching just before the 2015-16 season and stayed away when Sarah was diagnosed with Stage 0 breast cancer in October 2016.
He was dabbling with a player agency during his coaching hiatus, but when a spot on Everett’s bench opened up, Williams reached out to Mahood.
It was a pleasant surprise.
“There was no other situation I was pursuing or even thinking about it,” Mahood said. “As soon as Dennis reached out and said there was going to be an opportunity, I was struck very quickly about how I was very, very interested and excited (to get back into coaching). It was amazing, that coaching fire was still there and it didn’t take much to reignite it.”