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Belak Was A Unique Mass Of Contradictions

by Mike Ulmer / Toronto Maple Leafs

RELATED: Statement From Gary Bettman | Belak Found Dead In Toronto
VIDEO: Remembering Belak | Scuba Diving With Wade | Belak Returns To T.O.
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There is a picture in the Toronto Star worthy of a thousand words.

It's of Wade Belak, in uniform, with his gloves on. He is miming a kiss to his daughter, Andie, held a few feet away by her mother Jen.

Between them, of course, is the impenetrable glass.

In still images and in video Belak belies his tough-guy role, whether it be when he pantomimes a kiss or helps another Andi, our Andi Petrillo, into the water for a bit they are doing on scuba diving.

"When you dive, you always want to dive with a partner," he said reproachfully, a few moments after brandishing his deep sea divers card.

The day after Belak’s death, those two images say much about the days to come. Andi Petrillo’s vantage point of Belak was experienced by many. He was self-deprecating and willing to embark on any journey, be it a bit of wordplay or eyeballing sharks in Southern California. He was just that one of a kind guy, a mass of contradictions, a tattooed fighter who blew kisses.

For Andie, for everyone, that analogy will hold true: the vision of the red-headed giant waving, forever, forever from the other side of the glass. Too close to forget, just too far to touch.
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