Tuesday, 8 April 2014

University Ball Hockey

I feel I'm pretty lucky in being associated with UMFM, the University of Manitoba's radio station. We get to meet great people, attend awesome events, and take an active role in university life. The latter two were the reasons I was at the university on Saturday for a fantastic event run by some awesome people. The SAHPER Council - the Students Association for Health, Physical Education, and Recreation Studies - held a twenty-team ball hockey tournament on Saturday that featured some three-on-three hockey action and some awesome jerseys in the name of charity!

The funds raised through the tournament went to KidSport, a "national charity administered by Sport Manitoba that helps to remove barriers and assist less fortunate children participate in sport - so all kids can play. KidSport believes that no kid should be left on the sidelines and all should be given the opportunity to experience the positive benefits of organized sports. KidSport™ provides support to children in order to remove financial barriers that prevent them from playing organized sport." It sounds like the final total donated to KidSport by SAHPER was in the ballpark of $1500, so this was an awesome day of hockey and a great day for KidSport!

While he didn't make it down to the event, current Winnipeg Jet Keaton Ellerby made a big contribution to the effort as well. Keaton and fiancée Lauren Gerelus generously donated $500 to KidSport as well! To help with the fundraising efforts, Keaton donated a signed jersey that was raffled off! Here's the winner of the Ellerby jersey, and he seems pretty pumped! Huge thanks to Mr. Ellerby and Miss Gerelus for the generous donations of their monetary contribution and prizing!

As for the game action itself, there was a lot of excellent hockey played. Goals were scored, saves were made, wins and losses were determined, and there could only be one team that stood at the end. They weren't the top-seeded team of the sixteen squads that advanced to the playoff brackets, but the Grasshoppers used excellent goaltending and timely scoring to down the Puff Puff Passers in the final! The third-place game saw 2 Minutes 4 Looking 2 Damn Good battle Wheel, Snipe, Celly for the bronze medal, and it was 2 Minutes who captured third-place in their victory!

Congratulations to these final four teams who played some excellent hockey all day on Saturday! I do want to throw out a few highlights from the tournament. The Bisons women's team was on-hand, but they were in a tough pool and went winless in their four games. However, the smiles never left their faces as they made things interesting in a couple of games where the guys they were playing felt the pressure! Well done, ladies!

The Big Horns - UofM's biggest fans - also put a team into the tournament, and the boys looked good! You may notice that the goaltender is seated. Well, goaltender Andy is in a wheelchair! You might think this would be a problem, but Andy led his team to a playoff spot as one of the top-four teams in his pool, and he made a number of key saves in the Big Horns' four games. Well done, Andy and the Big Horns!

Amongst the jerseys seen on players, there were a few beauties from days of yore in the NHL. Seen on the pavement on Saturday was a Pittsburgh Penguins alternate uniform, a Chris Thorburn Winnipeg Jets jersey, a Hockey Day in Canada jersey, a Detroit Red Wings jersey with the street hockey-esque baseball glove, a Calgary Flames netminder looking like Miikka Kiprusoff, a Ray Bourque Colorado Avalanche jersey, an old-school Vancouver Canucks jersey, and an old-school Winnipeg Jets jersey! Pretty good collection of threads there!

I do want to throw out a few shout-outs to the sponsors as their support helped SAHPER direct more money back to KidSport, so these guys deserve some recognition as well: Source For Sports, Play-It-Again Sports, Smitty's, Red Bull, Boston Pizza, PPI Solutions, Bisons Sports, The Hub, Booster Juice, Home Run Sports, Degrees, Nutrition Plus, Xtreme Tactics, and the Winnipeg Jets! Thank you to all these businesses!

Congratulations to the Grasshoppers, winners of the 14th annual Pull Your Goalie ball hockey tournament, and to KidSport who received a nice chunk of money from the great people at SAHPER!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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