Calgary ringette player’s gold medal game soured after airline loses precious goalie bag

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Calgary ringette player’s gold medal game soured after airline loses precious goalie bag
WATCH: There have been horror stories of lost luggage at airports across the country. But a Calgary ringette player was forced on the bench after her goalie gear went missing after her Westjet flight home. Jill Croteau reports – Nov 17, 2022

It was a dreadful feeling that got worse with every passing second. Raegan Hatch was waiting and worrying about her luggage that never arrived.

“I was waiting there and hoping it was coming because I didn’t know what to do without it.”

Raegan Hatch. Courtesy: Hatch Family

The 17-year-old is a goalie for the Calgary Northwest Ringette team, U19A Attack.

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The team went to Burnaby over the weekend on a WestJet flight for a tournament.

Raegan and her teammates in Vancouver. Courtesy: Hatch Family

They secured a win, taking home the top prize.

But Raegan didn’t come home Sunday with the very gear that helped get them that gold medal.

U19A Attack after their gold medal win. Courtesy: Hatch Family

“All my friends were getting their bags and I was watching them leave until there was no one else left and then the panic started setting in,” Raegan said.

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“If it’s not coming, my season is ruined.”

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Her dad, Kevin Hatch, said it was worrying.

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“I don’t know how you lose a bag that size. For me, I didn’t want to buy new gear. That gave me stress, it’s not cheap,” Kevin said.

Calls to WestJet left them even more annoyed.

Oversized baggage area at yyc airport. Jill Croteau/Global News

“Our four-hour wait on the line to talk to somebody and then they tell you: ‘Hope it’s on next plane.’ But I waited here on Monday for two hours looking to see if I could see it and no luck,” Kevin said.

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“They suggested we to fly back to Vancouver to look for the bag ourselves, that was shocking to me.”

“They can’t even call other baggage departments in Vancouver to look for a bag,” Kevin said. “They have to send a message through their system. They can’t phone each other, which is a fail in the efficiency department, in my mind.”

The lost luggage ordeal triggered a callout from the team manager Cassandra Drouin. Within hours of her Facebook post, strangers, other ringette players and even random WestJet employees were offering to do whatever they could to reunite her with her beloved bag.

“It was just incredible. I never had people back me up like that before, especially over a goalie bag,” Raegan said.

“It’s impressive how people come together for something that means a lot to a kid,” Kevin said. “We owe a big thanks for them, especially our team manger, who did an awesome job.”

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Apple AirTags being used in luggage to avoid lost bags

“A WestJet employee saw it and got the ball rolling. Without that, we wouldn’t be here. I don’t know when or if we would get her stuff back.”

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She missed a game and a practice, but eventually got a message from the airline Thursday afternoon.

She picked up her goalie bag at the baggage claim desk.

Reagan and her teammate. Courtesy: Hatch Family

“So good to have it back, I’m excited,” Raegan said.

“I love watching her play, it’s nice she can play comfortable and confident again,” Kevin said.

So far there’s been no explanation from WestJet to the Hatch family or Global News regarding why the bag never made it on her flight.

But, Madison Kruger, media relations advisor with Westjet sincerely apologized for the significant inconvenience and understands their frustrations.

“Recognizing the current travel ecosystem, we understand there have been impacts on our guests across the travel journey, including baggage delays and we thank our guests for their continued patience and understanding,” Kruger said.

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She added the airline continues to work alongside a third-party service provider to alleviate baggage delays and have invested in additional WestJet oversight to support delivering their baggage services in a timely manner.

But they’re not taking any chances for the next out-of-town tournament.

“After that scare, I will put a tracker in,” Raegan said.

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