Cree woman fighting cancer has 10-minute video chat with NHL star Carey Price

Shirley Wischee Moar, right, with her husband Kenneth. An early January scan found Moar had 3 brain tumours. On Sunday, the mother, wife and grandmother had her spirits lifted by a 10-minute video chat with one of her favourite hockey players, Carey Price of the Montreal Canadiens. (submitted by Jennica Moar - image credit)
Shirley Wischee Moar, right, with her husband Kenneth. An early January scan found Moar had 3 brain tumours. On Sunday, the mother, wife and grandmother had her spirits lifted by a 10-minute video chat with one of her favourite hockey players, Carey Price of the Montreal Canadiens. (submitted by Jennica Moar - image credit)

A Cree woman from northern Quebec had a little bit of light added to a deeply challenging time this week, thanks to a 10-minute video chat with Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price.

Shirley Wischee Moar found out in early January that headaches she's been experiencing are being caused by brain tumours. She is still undergoing surgeries, and will need to go through radiation and chemotherapy.

On Sunday afternoon, a video call came in from none other than Price.

"I'm a Montreal Canadiens fan … number one," said Moar at the beginning of the video chat from her hospital bed at Montreal Neurological Institute-Hospital. Moar is from Waskaganish, Que., located about 1,200 kilometers north of Montreal on the shore of James Bay.

A former gym teacher and colleague of Shirley at the local school in Waskaganish, Jonathan Bertrand, arranged the video call between her and Price on Sunday.

"Hi, nice to meet you," said Price at the start of the conversation that touched on their home communities, families, the New York Rangers, New York City, Indigenous politics and the importance of education, among other things. Their exchange was often easy and lighthearted.

"I never really enjoyed going to New York as a player," shared Price. "Too crowded there for me."

During the video chat, Moar also shared that it was difficult to receive her diagnosis.

"I just thought I would come for an appointment ... It was … tough to receive the news," said the 56-year-old.

More than 30-year career in education

Moar worked for more than 30 years as a teacher with the Cree School Board and was most recently working as an education consultant.

She thanked Price for the respect he shows Indigenous peoples and praised him for being such a good role model for Indigenous youth.

"I've always tried to keep children at the forefront of everything I do," said Price in response.

"I'm hoping after, if everything goes well, I can go and watch a hockey game," said Moar, teasing that she hopes to see Price back in net.

"Me too," replied Price.

Bruce Bennett/Getty Images
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The Canadiens goaltender is out for at least the rest of this season because of a knee injury. He also took time away from hockey to seek out treatment for an alcohol addiction.

Price told Moar to "keep fighting" and complimented her on her "good attitude".

Moar's daughter Jennica says the contact with one of her idols did her mom a world of good.

"Her blood pressure was going up sometimes. I think she was worried about stuff. And when she spoke to Carey Price, everything just went back to normal," said Jennica.

Jennica, her son, sister, two brothers, along with Moar's husband Kenneth Moar, have all come to Montreal to be with her. The Cree Health Board, along with the community of Waskaganish have helped pay for two rooms at the Espresso Hotel. Air Creebec helped get the extended family down to Montreal.

"I think she worries less because her children are here," said Jennica.

submitted by Jennica Moar
submitted by Jennica Moar

On Monday afternoon, the family was waiting for results from a first surgery and has been told that Moar will need to have another surgery followed by radiation and chemotherapy. Part of the tumour cannot be removed, according to the family.

Jennica says the support her family has received is deeply appreciated.

"My mom is asking for prayer," said Jennica. "There's people calling my mom and they pray for her and that lifts her up and helps her so much.