To celebrate a shared love for the sport, hockey enthusiasts came together for Youth Hockey Day hosted by the Sylvan Lake Wranglers Junior B Hockey Club Nov. 28 at the NexSource Centre.
The Sylvan Lake Wranglers played the Cochrane Generals, defeating them with two points.
“The fans were able to cheer on a Wranglers win as Lakers downed the visiting Generals. Winning 6-4, the Wranglers won the battle of what are arguably the two best Junior B teams in Alberta,” said Brandon Goody, Wranglers team board of directors.
“The Wranglers celebrated and recognized players and volunteers from both the Sylvan Lake Minor Hockey Association (SLMHA) and the Sylvan Lake Rec. Hockey League (SLRHA). All three organizations came together as one unified Sylvan Lake team for the day.
“The turnout for the event was amazing with almost 400 people in attendance. It was one of the biggest hockey events in town since the Wranglers moved to Sylvan Lake from Blackfalds,” said Goody.
Event organizers hope to turn Youth Hockey Day into an annual event, offering Lakers an opportunity to strengthen the local hockey community.
“The day was a great jumping-off point for what event organizers would like to see grow into an annual event, similar to Rogers Hometown Hockey, on a local level. The day is a great way to showcase the hockey community and celebrate Sylvan Lake’s hockey community like the town’s Kraft Hockeyville win did in 2014 but on an ongoing basis,” said Goody.
SLMHA president Kayne Warwick, SLMHA’s four-year-old Learn-To-Play player Kasen Schwab, and SLRHA coach Dan Newman with 12-year-old son Sniper Dane Newman helped to kick off the festivities as representatives for the ceremonial puck drop.
“The Wranglers donated $500 to both of the youth organizations and topped their donations with 50/50 proceeds. In total, over $1,300 was split between the SLMHA and theSLRHA.
“The Wranglers board hopes the money will be used to help kids or families who would not otherwise have the opportunity to play hockey, get access to the game,” said Goody.
Event attendees also brought over 300 items in support of the Sylvan Lake Food Bank.
“Laker and Sniper players took part in a first-period intermission Skills Competition to try and earn their team a practice run by the Wranglers. Laker Reese Wedgewood topped the competition to earn his team the chance to skate with the big club.
“During the second intermission, Laker and Sniper players once again took to the ice for some friendly competition. Andrew Forster from SLRHA netted $500 when he scored a goal from centre ice through a hole just slightly bigger than the puck.
“The crowd went crazy for the little guy’s win,” said Goody.
The prize was sponsored by Wolf Creek Castle Building Centre and Roundabout Eatery.
After being on the road for over a month, the Wrangler will have the opportunity to play on their home ground for upcoming games scheduled Dec. 3 against the Three Hills Thrashers at 8 p.m. and Dec. 5 against the Strathmore Wheatland Kings at 2:45 p.m.