End of the Line

Tales from the Timebox: March 28th, 2017

Photo Credit: Brian Plunkie | Cover Photo: Lori Poitras

This is so true. At the beginning of any provincial tournament, all a coach can ever ask of his players is to make it to Sunday for the semifinals. After that it’s a bonus if you make it to the final. .And Avalanche coach Gerry Kjenner boys did that for him.

Eight teams started the weekend on Thursday and Sunday morning only four teams were left, and the Avalanche was one of them. The boys had a rough start on Thursday against Pincher Creek losing that 6 to 1. Free wheeling defenseman with the wicked shot Hayden ‘Hotwheels ‘ Ludlage the player of the game.

The boys bounced right back in a must win game on Friday winning 9 to 4 over Hanna. The big rig , Brody ‘the Big O’ Odgaard was unstoppable and named the player of the game scoring a hat trick in that one. Then with another must win game on Saturday the Avalanche winning again, that one 5 to 3 over the Thunderstars. Rugged  defenseman ‘Warrior Warren’ Ference the player of the game. He set the pace scoring the first two  goals of the game and dished out some bone crushing checks.

The Avalanche taking second in their pool, sending them to the semi final game, 10.30 am Sunday morning against Eckville losing a heart breaker 7 to 5. Goalie Shane ‘Hercules’ Hurtubise who played outstanding facing 57 shots on goal named the player of the game. If you want to make excuses you can, I won’t because I know the boys played their hearts out, had a 4 to 2 lead at the half way mark of the game, but eventually were worn down with all the pounding. Other than the bad case of the jiggers in the first game, they played extremely well and with a couple of more bodies on the bench could have went all the way to the finals I’m sure of it. Two players were out of the line up, injured and on a pre-planned school trip over seas; lots of them banged up and suffering bruises, the short bench final taking its toll.

Not once did the boys look out of place. They put on a first class act for their parents and fans, did nothing foolish on the ice, even when it was inevitable they had lost the game and their chances were over, and gained respect from every other team . A sad day for some of the veterans and especially their parents. Not only because they never made it to the final, but knowing this was their very last game in minor hockey.

Team captain Austin ‘Captain Obvious’ Stafford, goalie Shayne ‘Hercules ‘ Hurtubise, Bowen ‘Bam Bam’ Krider and Kyle ‘Ketchup’ Kjenner  four terrific competitive hockey players who come from very fine hockey families have laced up for the last time in minor hockey. Of course we will see them again on the ice, whether its in senior hockey or beer league; this is not the end as far as hockey goes. Just the end of something that has been very special to them, bonding with the boys of winter!

Valleyview Ice Bears with it’s big bruisers on defense and the top goalie of the tournament would go on to win the gold medal over the talented high scoring line from Eckville, who went home with the silver medal as runner ups.

Thanks to everyone who came out and volunteered their time to make this weekend a huge success. The minor hockey teams…concession workers, Lucille Smith and the senior door workers, Ron Smith and 50/50 workers, big Ray Danyluk and the looney stick sellers, anthem singer Rod Cardinal and Heaven Colbourne, The Storm girls, the runners, the time clock and penalty box crew , the clean up crew, the Zamboni guys Brian Poitras and Scott Dallaire and any one else I may have missed.

And a special thanks to the provincial committee. Chairperson Lori Poitras, her committee Margaret Baduza, Twila Stafford, Jackie Ludlage, Candace Bendixen and Jena Colbourne. You ladies  are the absolute best!!

And now for the K.A. Campbell quote of the week: “I remember what Ron Greschner said when he retired, ‘the thing I’m going to miss the most is showering with 23 guys’… And that’s what its all about; Camaraderie.” Mike Richter- Rangers goaltender.