Tuesday, 28 May 2013

The Moving Cup

I had the opportunity to take some incredible hockey action this past Saturday as I was invited to cover the prestigious ReMax Cup ball hockey tournament at Richmond Kings Arena! For the third year in a row, the organizers of the tournament invited the best ball hockey teams they could find in Winnipeg for one massive tournament of the "who's who" in ball hockey. The two-time defending champions in The Mob returned, so they had a target on their backs as seven other teams lined up to try and knock them off while vying for the trophy seen above. Honestly, this was some of the best ball hockey I have ever seen, and I am glad to have seen this tournament's action!

I have played enough street hockey and ball hockey in my time to have seen some good players. The only problem is that none of those players would have measured up to the talent and skill the seven teams had in this tournament. Games were fast-paced, exciting, and entertaining, and there were never any hard feelings after the games as guys shook hands and exchanged some laughs. All in all, I watched hours of excellent hockey played by guys who simply love the game.

You may noticed that I wrote "seven teams" above. In a tournament such as this, there's a small rule that's fairly easy to follow: "pay to play". If you don't pay your registration fee, kids, you don't play. It's that simple. One team didn't pony up the cash, thus paving the way for the organizers to excuse them from the tournament before anyone stepped onto the arena floor. Therefore, teams now had a one-in-seven shot of winning the championship!

I'll start with the team that literally looked like a professional ball hockey team. The Mob was absolutely dominant again this year, winning handily in each game. Seen here wearing their distinctive red uniforms, The Mob were incredible to watch as they seamlessly swapped positions with forwards dropping back to play defencemen and defencemen leading rushes down the floor. Their ball control was unparalleled, and they looked like an NHL team when out on the powerplay with their passing and shot selection. While other teams were good, The Mob were simply great. As a result, they ended up capturing their third straight ReMax Cup with a 10-3 victory in the final. Congratulations go out to The Mob on their three-peat!

Jersey of the tournament went to a goaltender whose name I wasn't able to catch after they lost in their playoff game. However, this goaltender sported a gorgeous WHA Cleveland Cavaliers jersey with Gerry Cheevers on the back. While he played well, his team fell 6-4 in their game in the playoffs, sending him home with no hardware to show for his efforts. Personally, that jersey alone may have been worth the price of admission, so kudos to the unnamed goaltender for picking a beauty!

Overall, the event was run extremely well by the volunteers who were at the rink Friday evening and all day Saturday. Many thanks go out to all the volunteers from the Church of the Rock who gave their time and energy with passion for this event. Many thanks go to Kevin Wilson for his invaluable assistance on Saturday. I also want to thank photographer Trinity for showing me the ropes and allowing me to infringe on her space a little for getting some photos. Huge thanks to friend Stu Eckert of Bank of Montreal, one of the sponsors of this tournament, for getting me in touch with Kevin and getting me out to this tournament. And certainly last but not least, thank you to the players for putting on an incredible display of hockey. It truly was one of the best ball hockey displays I have ever seen, and I will certainly be on-hand next year for the next installment of the ReMax Cup thanks to your awesome work on the weekend.

Ball hockey is something a lot of us grew up with as we played in gymnasiums, out on a front street, or in the driveway as we worked on our shots. These guys haven't let that passion die, and they put on a heck of a display of hockey. Mark your calendars, kids, and come see some incredible hockey played by some excellent teams next year!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the floor!

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