Monday, May 05, 2008

Dennis Julien

Last Monday, a guy I used to hang around with, but who I haven't seen in a couple of years, passed away. I was a regular reader of Dennis' blog ( - see my list of links), and have always been amazed at his incredible photography. I think his site is down now, which is a shame.

Several years ago, we shared a room in Vegas when a bunch of us went down - the excuse that time was a double bachelor party...though the guys have never needed a reason. It was on that trip that I got to know him better than the few years we worked together.

Back home in Ottawa, he told me about the day his sister died. I don't think I will ever forget it. I don't know if he ever told anyone else, though I am sure he did. He asked that I not mention it, so it's not like it ever came up in general conversation.

The story was heart-wrenching, and I think he told it because he had to. I remember mentioning that he should write it down, perhaps post it on his blog. He said he might, one day. I don't know if he ever posted something about it on some other blog he might have had, or perhaps he has it written down somewhere, but never had the strength to publish it.

So most of us will remember Dennis as the big guy sitting at the Morley, beer in hand, cracking jokes and defending the Leafs. We will remember him as incredibly smart, and a fantastic photographer...and if I recall, a terrible gambler (hey, he rooted for the Leafs!).

I will also remember him as a guy who told me about his most painful moment...about every emotion he experienced on that day, and how it still affected him. Before that, he was just one of the guys, someone I knew through work, and the Vegas trip. After that story, though, he became...well...Dennis.

Cheers, buddy.