According to an RCMP press release, officers were called to the local dump, about six kilometres east of Ponteix, at 3:45 p.m. Thursday and located two dead men. Details about what transpired at the dump have not been released and police won’t say any more about the case.
Ponteix is 85 kilometres south of Swift Current.
On Friday afternoon, a lone RCMP cruiser was stationed at the entrance of the landfill. The rusted gate was closed behind the vehicle with a handwritten sign reading, “Closed until further notice.”
Family members have identified the deceased as local residents Mike Kucik, who worked at the dump, and Laurent St. Cyr. Family and Ponteix residents say the two men were friends.
In his seventies, Kucik spent his life devoted to boxing. His contributions to the sport in the Ponteix area and across the province were “endless,” said Berkley Jodoin, who trained under him.
“He genuinely loved his fighters. … He cared about the person who was doing the training,” said Jodoin.
“The boxing world, and the world in general, lost a great man.”
Although Kucik had officially retired from boxing a few years ago, he continued to train people out of his garage in Ponteix. The “gym” is only identifiable by a modest “Boxing Club” sign stuck to the garage’s white door.
Immaculately organized, the stark white garage contains all of the boxing essentials, each item neatly tucked its own place as if espousing the precision the sport requires. Gloves, shoes and helmets from different decades are strung high on one wall, with brightly coloured newer equipment resting neatly on a shelf below.
The opposite wall is decorated with faded photographs of boxers Kucik had coached or met on his travels. One shows Kucik as a fit teenager outfitted in boxing gear, head dipped in a fighting stance.
In the middle of the garage, a punching bag and speed bag hang from a homemade metal floor stand with multi-hued skipping ropes dangling from each end.
Kucik’s four children were at their father’s home Friday but declined to comment.
A few blocks away at Splitter’s bar, co-owner Gisele St. Cyr has been fielding questions about the deaths. Laurent St. Cyr was her husband’s uncle, and Kucik worked at the bar for years.
“It’s just baffling,” she said. “I think that’s why it’s so hard to digest.”
She said Laurent was a retired Canadian Pacific Railway worker. He was nicknamed “Moneybags,” she explained, for his bachelor lifestyle and shiny cars.
“Both guys I had respect for,” said Gisele.
The men were regulars at the Ponteix Bakery and Restaurant down the street, where Kathy Wolf works.
“It’s awful,” she said.
Wolf moved to Ponteix nine months ago for the quiet lifestyle. She said the incident has been the talk of the 600-person town.
It didn’t take long for the news of Kucik’s death to spread across the boxing community as well.
Saskatchewan Amateur Boxing Association executive director Graham Craig said the news “caught us all by surprise and shock.”
He said Kucik was a regular at boxing cards in Saskatchewan and southern Alberta. He trained boxers at all levels, many of whom made it to provincial and national championships.
“He’s a really outstanding coach and really good fellow,” said Craig.
The Ponteix RCMP is continuing to investigate. Autopsies are scheduled for Wednesday.