Ontario Hockey League

The Ontario Hockey League is deeply saddened by the loss of former London Knight Chris McCauley.

Surrounded by family, Chris passed away peacefully at his home in Barrie, Ontario, on August 9, 2017.

Chris suffered from Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (also known as ALS, Lou Gehrig’s disease, or motor neuron disease) that gradually paralyzes people because the brain is no longer able to communicate with the muscles of the body.  Over time, as the muscles of the body break down, ALS patients lose the ability to walk, talk, eat, swallow, and eventually breathe.

He played four OHL seasons with the Knights from 1979-83 producing a career-high 114 points during the 1981-82 campaign finishing eighth in league scoring recording 47 goals and 67 assists in 66 games playing alongside top scorer Dave Simpson and fellow winger Paul Fulcher.

Following his tenure with the Knights, McCauley attended the University of Western Ontario and played four seasons for the Mustangs graduating in 1987 as a three-time All-Canadian.  He would play two seasons of pro hockey before establishing his career in social work.

He is fondly remembered by teammates that include current Guelph Storm Head Coach and General Manager George Burnett.

“We committed (to London) at the same time and were roommates for three seasons,” recalls Burnett. “Chris was a good friend and teammate as we went through the same experiences together. He was a very talented hockey player but more importantly he was a great person.”

Knights Owner and Alternate Governor Basil McRae played two seasons with McCauley where the pair bonded over their common small town roots of Alliston and Beaverton keeping in touch through billets Don and Gail Cowell.

“During our OHL days we were all pretty close. Chris was a popular guy, pretty serious, but we were able to loosen him up,” McRae happily recalls. “He came from a close family and was a very loyal person and proud of where he came from. He always had tight support from his family and that never changed.”

Chris was determined to leave behind a legacy to help find treatments and ultimately a cure for ALS, a courageous endeavor not lost among his friends.

“I admire how brave he was and how proud he was to fight the fight he did in a very public way and with a huge smile on his face,” says McRae. “He never felt sorry for himself and tried as hard as he could to raise awareness so hopefully people can live longer lives.”

There are currently no effective treatments and no cure for ALS, and approximately 80 percent of people with ALS die within two to five years of being diagnosed.

“It’s tremendously sad to see what he had to endure in his later years because he had such a passion for life,” Burnett added. “I have fond memories of our time together and wish his family well in what I’m sure is a very difficult time.”

Chris became keenly interested in ALS research following his diagnosis in 2015 and became ALS Canada’s Ambassador for Project MinE.  The initiative strives to make ALS easier to study and enable scientists to better understand the genetic signature that leads someone to develop the disease with the potential to identify new genetic causes that may lead to effective treatments.

He brought his voice to Project MinE in Canada so he could help make things better for people who will be diagnosed with ALS in the future.

“ALS Canada is a trusted organization that has the rigour in identifying and supporting initiatives with scientific merit,” McCauley was quoted in an ALS publication. “I became ALS Canada’s Ambassador for Project MinE as a way to express my gratitude and give back. I am calling on Canada to get on board with it and really do something to drive a good cause that has the potential to change many people’s lives worldwide.

“I think of others who will come after me and like me, lose the blossom of their health so insidiously. I want to do something to make it better.”

Click here to learn more about ALS, Project MinE, and to support Team McCauley.

Chris is the beloved husband of Maria, dear son of Marilyn and the late Terry McCauley and cherished brother of Norm, Alicia, Mike (Karen), Cathy and Tim. Chris is also a much loved uncle of  Matthew, Melissa, Jamie, Christen, Jordan, Taylor, Nicholas, Damon, Connor, Brandon, Carter and Ryley and admired step father of Aaron and Luc.

Visitation will take place on Sunday August 13, 2017, from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm at the Drury Funeral Centre in Alliston, followed by a funeral ceremony on Monday August 14, 2017, at 11:00 am at Alliston’s St. Paul The Apostle Church.  Click here for details and obituary.

Click here for a special Barrie Examiner feature to learn more about Chris and his ALS story.

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