Ottawa hockey dad plays trumpet at games to cheer on his kids
'You see the smiles on the kids' faces, and that's worth a million bucks,' says James Ikkers
For seven years, an Ottawa man has been entertaining children and parents alike by playing his trumpet at minor-level hockey and ringette games played by his three children.
James Ikkers, a public servant by day, is known around local arenas simply as "the trumpet guy," playing the Dragnet theme when a penalty is called, or music from Empire Strikes Back when his teams score, among other music.
It started in 2009 when Ikkers was watching his daughter play ringette.
"I was in the stands, we were watching a game, and I noticed some folks with some noisemakers and those plastic horns, and I thought, you know what? It's time to dust off the old trumpet and put it to good use," Ikkers said.
He's since brought his trumpet to the hockey games played by his two young sons, and he vows to continue "as long as people enjoy it."
And it seems people do enjoy it. In all the years he's been using the trumpet to cheer on his kids, he said he's only been asked to stop once or twice by parents on opposing teams, and when he once forgot to bring his trumpet to a tournament in Guelph, Ont., he rented one because he received so much flak.
"Fun is the first thing, and what I realized once I started ... is you see the smiles on the kids' faces, and that's worth a million bucks. And the smiles on the parents' faces, and all the atmosphere that it creates," Ikkers said.
'I'm going to learn to play the trumpet just like my dad'
So what do kids think of trumpet guy?
Robert Huang, 11: "He's good, yeah. It's fun in between whistles to have a trumpet and stuff."
Oliver Johnston, 11: "He's pretty cool. I think he's cool because I really like his songs and they pump me up when I get on the ice."
Ryan Ikkers, 11 (trumpet guy's son): "He brings it to every game that he goes to, pretty much, and it just makes me proud. ... the trumpet man is my dad. And next year, in [Grade 7], I'm going to learn to play the trumpet just like my dad ... because I want to follow in my dad's footsteps and I'd just like to play the trumpet."