Erin-Hillsburgh Minor Hockey initiates fundraiser to honour community member

ERIN – This past hockey season, the Erin-Hillsburgh Devils U11 BB team initiated a fundraiser in memory of local community member Danny Barber and his fight against brain cancer. 

As part of the Erin-Hillsburgh Minor Hockey Association (EHMHA), Devils teams in all divisions wore helmet stickers with Barber’s favourite saying, “Undiculous,” this season in his honour.

Barber served the Hillsburgh community in many capacities, but the Devils remember him best from his time spent as an employee at the Hillsburgh Community Centre. 

The U11 team honoured Barber’s life by raising awareness and funds to fight brain cancer. In all, the team has donated $1,380 to Brain Cancer Canada in Barber’s memory. 

With Barber having been a big part of the Erin and Hillsburgh hockey community, U11 head coach Jon Forbes said after his passing, the team wanted to have a way to honor Barber’s memory.

“As a person in the community, everybody, every boy and girl who’s played minor hockey out of Erin-Hillsburgh has crossed paths with Danny in the last 20 years,” Forbes said. 

“And the kids all knew him, so it was really easy for us to sort of identify how we could honor his memory and just try and give back to something that would speak to his spirit,” he added. “So, that’s what we did.

“I think every small town has a personality like that,” Forbes said of Barber. “You ask any kid that played hockey in Hillsburgh if they knew who Danny was and they all did.”

The family of one player on the team, Trent McLeod, had a close connection to Barber. 

Trent’s mother, Brandi, grew up and worked with Barber at the arena over the years, so Forbes said the team wanted to find a way to support the McLeod family through the initiative. 

“Really we wanted to do that … for that family, just to show them that we were grieving with them,” he said. 

“It was just a nice way to give remembrance and help them through their … memories with him.”

As a coach, Forbes said one of the team’s goals at the start of the season was to teach the kids how to represent the community, not just on the ice, but in service to the community. 

“Initiating this fundraiser, educating the boys about Brain Cancer Canada and Danny’s connection to it, and then having them educate the rest of the association community was just a nice way to have his memory mean something,” he explained. 

Brandi McLeod said the arena “meant quite a bit to Dan, it was his safe haven.

“He loved everyone in the community … and his place to be was the arena.”

From minor hockey all the way to U18, McLeod said Barber was there for many players’ childhoods.

“Dan was very passionate about hockey, and about watching the kids play hockey,” she said. 

Some of the players that Barber saw growing up went on to be employees with the town and became co-workers, McLeod explained. 

“He watched them play hockey, and then he also watched some of those kids become friends and teammates at the arena as well,” she said.

“So that really meant a lot to Dan. We became Dan’s family,” she added. “So we really relied on him and he relied on us throughout all the years that he worked there with us.”

McLeod said seeing Forbes take on the initiative was really special to her and her family. 

“[Dan] was a close part of our family, so it really meant a lot,” she said. “And the boys worked really hard to do this initiative and wore the stickers proudly on their helmets.”

With the support of EHMHA, McLeod noted a lot of community members that knew Barber also participated by buying stickers which she said made her proud. 

“So it wasn’t only the U11s, it was the community that really banded together,” she explained. “My son is part of the team and my husband’s the assistant coach as well, so it really was near and dear to our hearts.”

Barber’s “undiculous” life

The helmet stickers include the phrase “undiculous,” a word made up by Barber.

“It just represented who he was, his ‘undiculous’ life,” Forbes said. “If you were to ask people that grew up with Danny, they would say that that word best represented his personality and his spirit.”

McLeod said the word “undiculous” is what everyone remembers Barber by. That, and his humorous nature. 

Forbes said using Barber’s phrase was a sentimental and fun way to remember him. 

“People will look at that word and have a chuckle and remember Danny from there,” he said. 

“This is a way for us to remember him and for us to keep his spirit in our memory … I think more than anything, it’s probably a celebration of life, that’s really what it is,” Forbes said. “And how, Danny, in his passing, still has such a positive effect on the community.”

To donate through the Brain Cancer Canada website and “Danny’s Army” fundraiser link, go to