I showed up to announce last night’s Midget A game at the Sylvan Lake Multiplex, and I have to say it was amazing.
It was expressed to me from Sylvan parents that this would be some of the boys’ last game for minor hockey. So I watched a pumped-up Lakers team come out ready to roll and take on the Maskwacis Hawks (who had seven players).
The game started out fairly even and soon began to tilt as fatigue set in for the Hawks, with the home team peppering the opposing goalie shot after shot and adding to the scoreboard periodically.
Towards the end of the second period, with the Hawks’ fatigue setting in and the penalties starting, I witnessed something I had never seen before in all the years of playing and announcing.
After a whistle, the Hawks coach opened the box and began yelling to his players to come to the bench and said,” let’s go home, boys!” They had a player in the penalty box and the look on his face as our eyes met were the same as mine, I’m sure – bewildered.
So we opened the box and the players skated slowly away from the face-off circle, and as they did so it was in that moment it happened. One of the Maskwacis players led his teammates to the Lakers’ bench and began to take off his helmet and gloves. As he approached the Lakers’ bench, he extended his hand and began to shake the hands of the players and coaches, as did the rest of his teammates.
Myself and the fans in the arena stood up and began clapping and cheering, not for the win or loss but because of the lesson.
You see it wasn’t just about it being some Lakers’ last game. There’s always two teams on that ice, and the sportsmanship the Hawks’ gesture displayed reminds us all what the game is all about.
Congratulations to the parents, players and coaches – a job well done!