Brock Montgomery grew up in Moose Jaw and now he and his partner are gearing up for a unique new adventure and unique opportunity.
Montgomery and Claire de Haas have been announced as the new caretakers of Great Blasket Island of Kerry in the Republic of Ireland. Before the pandemic, the highly sought-after positions garnered applications from more than 50,000 people, and eventually the couple got the call to start their new temp jobs.
According to Montgomery, perseverance was the key to locking down the gig. But that wasn’t the only thing he said helped their cause.
“They must have just liked our vibe, I guess. We also went a little beyond because I knew there were so many people applying, so we had to find a way to reach them a little differently. So we sent a video of us talking and stuff like that and we sent it. I guess that came through and caught their attention,” Montgomery explained.
“Usually they are couples (from) Ireland and so they can have new faces and so on. A Dutch and Canadian couple could also be fun for them.
Montgomery and de Haas will be the only ones to live on the island consistently for 6 months, welcoming guests and looking after the four lodges, which have no running water or electricity.
“It’s really a return to basic life. I will help (guests) if they need to… start their fires and tidy up their cabins,” Montgomery said. “Then we’ll just turn the cottages around for the next guests and we also run the very small cafe. It’s very basic. It’s just black coffee and teas.
Tourists also visit the island during the day and once the sun goes down, Montgomery and de Haas will have the place to themselves.
Montgomery admitted their biggest challenge will likely be mother nature. If a bad storm hits, they’ll need supplies ahead of time, and the two will be stuck on the island with limited power. Wet weather is not uncommon on the west coast of Ireland where the island is located.
The couple are no strangers to travel, with Montgomery having started at a young age playing hockey in the Western Canada Hockey League as a member of Kootenay ICE (now the Winnipeg ICE) for the 4 years of his WHL career.
Then, his love for sport took him to Europe where he met his girlfriend.
“(When) Claire and I met, I was living in the Netherlands, but I was playing in Germany, then we started traveling together. We kind of just clicked. We went to Italy, then we traveled a bit in Spain,” Montgomery continued.
“We have an RV in Canada so we went back and buzzed around and worked different fun jobs there, doing like a winery and orchard and stuff like that, so it was fun. And then we went back to Indonesia. We traveled to Malaysia for a month, then I volunteered at a school in Indonesia for a few months, then when COVID started we were in Bali for quite a while,” he says.
“And then back to Canada for some more travel in the van (then) we were in Portugal for six months and now…head to Ireland.”
Montgomery went on to say that the couple really enjoy this simple life, even though social media can romanticize a life filled with travel, the two are still working.
Along with this new adventure, Montgomery has also started a clothing business with her brother and continues to practice yoga and mindfulness with a focus on helping fellow athletes.
“For me, I personally think all athletes meditate, which is kind of like a bold statement I guess…what I mean by that is they unknowingly meditate in some sense. …they’re doing something they love on a daily basis. They’re fully focused and in that zone. When you take that sport away from them, they don’t have that daily meditation practice anymore.
“My main focus would be to just bring these tools to people and help them become a better person and (make) their lives easier, which in turn, I think you’re going to be a better athlete. C It’s kind of my main goal to try to be able to help people, it’s something I’m passionate about.
Click on the video below to watch Discover Moose Jaw’s Teagan Witko catch up to Brock Montgomery: