Prize winners’ father-son trip to attend Stanley Cup final potentially nixed by passport woes

A lucky Manitoba man is planning the father-son vacation of a lifetime, but there’s a chance the trip could get stymied due to striking federal workers.

Ronald Ashe told 680 CJOB’s The Start that he’s been collecting the special series of hockey cards issued by Tim Hortons and Upper Deck for years, and in October of last year, he found a one-in-almost-four-million card — a trip for two to a 2023 Stanley Cup final game.

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“I think it was the second day (the cards were available),” Ashe said. “I went to my Tim Hortons that morning on St. Mary’s Road, and decided to buy a whole box of 100 (packs).

“That night, when I came home, I started opening them up, hoping to luck out on a jersey card or something like that. I was down to my last three packs, and what card did I pull out? The Stanley Cup trip. I couldn’t believe it at the time.”

Although there are still three Canadian teams in the playoffs as of Thursday — the Winnipeg Jets, Toronto Maple Leafs, and Edmonton Oilers — there’s a very good chance the game in question will be in the United States. Ashe said once the winning card was confirmed, back in January, he and his son went through the process of applying for passports.

Click to play video: 'Jets/Golden Knights Game 5 preview w/John Shannon'

Jets/Golden Knights Game 5 preview w/John Shannon

“The next step was to get our passports. … In early February, we did our passport applications,” he said.

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“I got mine in the middle of March, and we were waiting on my son’s. For the last three or four weeks, just before the strike, he was calling every week, and they just kept on telling him, ‘It’s going to be mailed out, it’s going to be mailed out.’ So we’re kind of stuck.”

Then came the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) strike — one of the largest in Canadian history — affecting, among many others, workers at the passport office.

Ashe said he and his son went down to a Service Canada office on Wednesday to see if an in-person visit would help move things along. But for now, they’re stuck waiting and hoping for the best.

“The guy I talked to, he’s optimistic, he’s hoping the strike will end before this trip in June and we can get the passport. But if it continues on and the strike goes on, we’re out of luck, basically. Tough luck on us,” he said.

“If it’s in the States, my son won’t be able to go, and I’m not going by myself, so I won’t go. … It’s a father-son thing.

“We’ve never been to an NHL game at all — not once. This would’ve been our first one. If we’re going to go to our first NHL game, might as well be the Stanley Cup finals, right?”

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With the playoffs still in the first round, Ashe and his son may have time on their side. But at present, they don’t qualify for a passport exception, as going to a hockey game — even a Stanley Cup final game — isn’t considered an emergency.

Click to play video: 'PSAC strike stretches on'

PSAC strike stretches on

Earlier this week, federal family services minister Karina Gould advised Canadians not to apply for passports during the strike.

“Unfortunately, by law, passport services are not considered to be essential, so that means anyone who is applying for a new passport or to renew a passport — unless it is in a very set prescribed set of circumstances — will not be able to apply for a passport while the strike is ongoing,” Gould said.

“Unless you are travelling for work and you are economically dependent on that travel and require a passport for that — or you need to seek medical services abroad, or you have a family member who is critically ill or has passed away abroad and you need a passport for those reasons, or on compassionate grounds … you cannot apply for a passport while the strike is ongoing.”

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Click to play video: 'Ongoing woes for Manitobans around passport waits'

Ongoing woes for Manitobans around passport waits

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