An intrepid travel blogger who died at Shannon Falls last week is being remembered in West Vancouver as a former field hockey star with a big personality.
Megan Scraper’s past coach Patricia Macleod said she saw potential in the fledgling field hockey player at the age of nine. Scraper’s “masses of curly hair” also made it hard for her to go unnoticed on the field.
“She was very strong and athletic and she worked really hard. And she was also extremely competitive,” recalled Macleod, past president of the West Vancouver Field Hockey Club, on Monday.
When she broke her arm as a young girl, Scraper’s field hockey coaches kitted her up with a special brace, which included oven mitts, and she played goalie for a season.
“She was great to be with because she was very confident all the time and cheerful,” said Macleod. “You could count on her.”
A forward known for her speed and goal-scoring ability, Scraper suited up for the West Vancouver Field Hockey Club through her teen years. At the same time, Scraper played on regional and provincial teams and was selected in Grade 10 to the senior field hockey squad that won West Vancouver Secondary School its first provincial championship.
Kent State came calling for Scraper after high school, offering her a full scholarship. She later went on to captain Western University’s field hockey team.
Macleod said the Scraper family is well known in the tight-knit West Vancouver Field Hockey Club community and contributed financially to the construction of Rutledge Field. Megan’s younger sister, Kim, also grew up playing field hockey in West Van, later joining the junior national team.
“So yeah, it’s a big loss,” said Macleod, reacting to Scraper’s passing. “It’s just tragic.”
Known online as “Mindy the Lion,” Scraper had a social media marketing business built around extensive travel. Her Instagram page is populated with images of her and longtime boyfriend Alexey Lyakh in exotic locales.
Together the couple created an Instagram account of their bucket-list places and experiences, initially called Before I Die then later renamed Wanderlust, which drew more than one million followers.
Scraper was hiking with Lyakh and fellow blogger Ryker Gamble at Shannon Falls on July 3 when she reportedly slipped and fell into one of the pools. It’s believed Lyakh and Gamble went in after Scraper but all three got swept up by the strong current and were pulled over the pool’s ledge, dropping about 30 metres. Underwater dive teams recovered the three bodies the following morning in one of the lower pools.
In the wake of Scraper’s passing, both Field Hockey B.C. and the West Vancouver Field Hockey Club have posted tributes to her on their websites. Meanwhile, the men’s national team, which plays at Rutledge, held a minute of silence in Scraper’s memory before Thursday’s game against China.
The tragic accident has since gained international media attention with outlets such as the New York Times, ABC News, Time magazine and The Washington Post picking up the story.
– with files from Vancouver Courier and Squamish Chief