What could’ve been

Tales from the Timebox: March 30, 2020

Image: Newspaper clipping of the 1995 Elk Point Bantam Lightning upon winning provincial gold

What a shame this all had to happen right when minor hockey playoffs and provincials were just about to take place. Or I guess I should rephrase that… What a shame this had to happen at all. Everyone in the whole world has been affected. But, back to the kids playing hockey. This year our Elk Point Avalanche Bantam team had a terrific run . They played the whole season without a loss winning the North East League. They would have been in the Tier #3 provincial final tournament on the March 19 to 22 weekend in Edmonton. And who knows, maybe they could have won it all. They had a lot of talented players who could put the puck in the net including the league leading scorer. Some grinders to do the dirty work along the boards and in the corners. Some smooth puck moving defenseman who knew how to rush and get back home. And to top it off they had great goaltending.

And how fitting that would have been if they won it all. Twenty five years ago almost to the date the Elk Point Bantam Lighting won the provincial gold medal right here at home over Rimbey.

The date was March 19, 1995 to be exact. Crazy, its been 25 years already but it seems like yesterday. The A.G. Ross Arena was packed to the rafters all weekend but especially for the final game . Everyone was on their feet for most of the game. The game tied a three all after regulation time. The first two goals in the first period were scored by the rugged winger Loren Kozicky. One was assisted by hard core Shaun Moroziuk and one assisted by the late Neil Kozicky. Work horse Marty Bendixen scored the third goal in the second period his assisted by team captain Conway Roscoe. The game tied at three goals apiece half way through the second period and remained tied after that. No one scored in the third period. Talk about tense! Every time either team touched the puck in the opposite end the crowd would be silent for a few seconds. Seven minutes into the ten minute sudden death overtime it happened, Conway Roscoe was the hero as he had been many times that year. With a slap shot from just over the blue line that barely left the ice he scored the winner. The winning goal assisted by Marty Bendixen and the late Ferlin Quinney. The place just exploded!

How do I know all the stats? Well it’s something I don’t think I will ever forget. My son Jordan played on that team. He was the youngest of the bunch. Still a peewee aged player he played up that year in bantams. Big and solid for his age. And of course I still have a copy of the game sheet. I was the tournament chairperson for that provincial tournament and I had the pleasure of hanging the medal over my son’s head. You might say I got a little choked up and had a few tears when they called his name!

Funny how superstitious you get in those games. I was standing watching the games in the same corner with the then past minor hockey president Al Pankiw the whole weekend. His son Bradley was one the team. He was a really smooth confident centerman . Al and I were becoming very superstitious. We had watched the first three round robin games standing together in the same south east corner leaning on the railing. Stood in the same place watching the semi final game. Four games and the boys were undefeated. We’re not going to move to another spot now. I also had on my lucky sweater on with all the hockey pins on it. Wore it all weekend. And to a lot of provincials after that one.

Elk Point did have some boys win a gold medal in the early 2000’s That team was actually carded out of Dewberry Minor Hockey. But half the team came from Elk Point. Murray Cochrane coached that team. Lots and lots of talent on that team too. Chevy Botting, Billy Hudy, Kameran Ballas Tanner Shankowski, Harrison Maas and Dylon Loughran along with some others.

Lately in the last few years we have had some terrific talented teams as well. We brought home two silver medals two years ago when the Midgets and Peewee teams both made it to the final game. This year’s Bantam Avalanche team has some of the same players that brought home the silver medal two years ago. Some of our other players who are playing out of town had a really good chance of winning the North East League and going to provincials. The Vermilion Tigers midget team and the Marwayne Sled Dog midget team were just about ready to face off in the final round of playoffs. Elk Point boys skated on both of those teams. Sad to say some of them are in their final year of hockey. Two of our female players also had a shot at winning provincials . Rylee ‘ the Rocket’ Warawa was with the Lakeland Jaguars female bantam team that had been undefeated. They were getting ready to host the provincial final in Cold Lake , Everything was cancelled the week before the tournament. And Jadey ‘ the Lady’ Capjack was on the Lakeland Jaguars female midget team they were also hosting the provincial finals and would have had a good shot at winning. Who knows?!

K.A. Campbell quote of the week. Good teams become great ones when the members trust each other enough to surrender the “me” for “we’. – Phil Jackson