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Canadiens Bob Gainey launches foundation, seeks answers in daughter's death

Speaking publicly for the first time since her death, Gainey and his three surviving children announced the creation Wednesday of the Gainey Foundation. It will support various causes dear to Laura and his late wife, Cathy.

"Your life can shift in an instant," said Gainey, general manager of the NHL's Montreal Canadiens.

Laura Gainey, 25, was swept overboard by a wave off the deck of the Picton Castle, the tall ship on which she was working last December.

A three-day search in the Atlantic Ocean, about 700 kilometres off the coast of Cape Cod, proved fruitless.

The family expects to see a copy of the report into her death fairly soon.

"The investigation is ongoing, we expect a report from the Cook Islands shortly," said Anna Gainey. "We're eager to see it. It'll be the most complete account of what happened on the Picton Castle and we still don't exactly know the circumstances."

A retired U.S. naval reserve officer who conducted a preliminary investigation on behalf of the Cook Islands, an island nation in the South Pacific where the Picton Castle is registered, assured Bob Gainey that he has put together a thorough report.

A board of marine inquiry based in the Cook Islands should release a report and safety recommendations "any time now," he said.

Gainey has had two previous meetings with the media since his daughter's death but had not discussed it.

"It's a good day to move forward," said Gainey, who has been focusing on the foundation since the Canadiens were eliminated from the playoffs and his hockey administration duties lessened.

"We can still think about Laura and miss her not being here and remember some of the things she did while she was here," he said.

"Today (Wednesday) we were ready to step into the public eye," Gainey said.

He said one area the foundation will focus is on helping youth, particularly those who are in danger of dropping out of school.

The Gainey Foundation has a goal of raising $2 million over the next year. The Gainey family will kick in $250,000.

The family foundation is part of the healing process and brought Gainey and three surviving children, Anna, Stephen and Colleen that much closer, Gainey said.

"I think there's no question the tragedy has instigated a desire to make sure we stay firm and solid and (the foundation) will give us a base where everybody can participate," he said.

The foundation will focus on helping causes in education, arts and the environment.

Bob Gainey said the family has been overwhelmed by the support it has received from the public.

The surviving members of the Gainey family are the trustees of the foundation but no causes in particular have been chosen. Anna Gainey, who spearheaded the group, said the idea is to help groups across Canada.

Cathy Gainey died in 1995 after a five-year battle with cancer.


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