Meet Saskatchewan Rush's biggest supporter, Grandma Rush
Joyce Souka calls the Rush her family, no matter where they play
She has her own bobblehead, custom jerseys and signs reading Go Rush Go. She's arguably one of the biggest Saskatchewan Rush fans, dating back to 2006 when they were known as the Edmonton Rush.
"How many people know an 80-plus woman who has a shirt that says, 'Grandma says Rush Kick Ass' on the back and on the front it says, 'Go Rush Go'," said Joyce Souka.
Souka — also known as Grandma Rush — said while she's partially disappointed the team moved down the Yellowhead Highway to Saskatoon, she's happy the team found a city that's completely bought into the team.
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"Of course I was disappointed but on the other hand to be truthful, [Edmonton] is a hockey town and it was so hard to get people to come in and those that came were very loyal fans," Souka told CBC News.
"There were about six to 8,000 people and as soon as they moved to Saskatoon, they were embraced and they deserve what they got. They get 15,000 people a night in there and it's unbelievable how they've been received."
When the team was at Rexall Place, the Rush made up a sign for her. On the front it said, "Grandma says Rush Kick Ass" and "Go Rush Go".
"I would go up those stairs at Rexall, right to the top and all the way down to the field. I would cheer people on and when they scored, we all cheered together," she said, adding she would rack up 12,000 steps a night.
Despite the more than 500 kilometres separating the two cities, Grandma Rush was fortunate enough to make it out to a handful of games this past season. One of those trips was on the Rush fan bus.
Souka was also down at field level at SaskTel Centre hoisting the National Lacrosse League Championship after the Rush captured its second national title in two years.
"I don't care where they play, they are my family, they are my boys," Souka said.
Battle with cancer
Earlier this year, Souka was diagnosed with cancer and received radiation treatment five days a week for five weeks.
During that time, Souka said fans of the Rush and even players sent well-wishes and photos they had of Grandma Rush wishing her a speedy recovery.
"I can thank the Rush and the Rush Nation, I call them my family, for all of the support they've given me through this and with their help, I'm determined to win this battle," she said.