Members of the Port Alice Minor Hockey Mud Sharks give a hearty team cheer for CBC camerman Ross Luckow during taping for a Hockey Night in Canada promo on Walkabout Island Thursday

Port Alice skaters make NHL

The Port Alice Minor Hockey Association novice team to feature on CBC's Hockey Night in Canada.



PORT ALICE—When the Port Alice Mud Sharks’ spirits — and attention spans — began flagging during taping of a promotion for CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada, cameraman Ross Luckow had just the solution.

“Give me one more good one, and we’ll go have pizza!” Luckow barked, drawing cheers worthy of a TV spot.

The Port Alice Minor Hockey Association novice team, made up of six- to eight-year-old players, earned the taping last Thursday after being selected in the annual Scotiabank Hockey Kids contest. The promotion gives young skaters a chance for recognition and to be attached to an NHL broadcast by introducing the teams and CBC Hockey Night in Canada host Ron McLean.

The Mud Sharks, who were nominated by Holly Aldis, will appear on the network’s Apr. 20 broadcast.

With any luck, the promo may prove a boon to Port Alice tourism. The taped spots featuring minor hockey programs from  across the country typically feature players cheering and announcing matchups from their home arenas. But when Luckow arrived one day early and spied the views in and around Neroutsos Inlet, he began location scouting with the help of local sources.

“When he got here and saw the area, he said, ‘I’ve got to use some of this,’” said Amanda Jorgenson, who has three children in the association’s programs.

So it was that Luckow found himself on a boat out on the inlet’s waters, from which he taped two small groups of players, followed by another taping — in an ever-increasing North Island rainshower — with the full team on Walkabout Island. On the island, named for its accessibility by foot at low tide, he subjected the youngsters to several tapings, with different scripts and backgrounds, as several coaches and parents looked on.

Aldis was rewarded for her nomination of the team by being assigned director duties for the shoot. She was assisted by Morgan Roper.

CBC and Scotiabank provided each of the players a Scotiabank Hockey Club toque bearing the CBC and NHL logos. But as rehearsals turned into multiple takes and botched lines, the kids learned that acting was work. Their full-throated cheers tapered to moderate enthusiasm before Luckow played the pizza card.

After the taping, players, coaches and parents retired to the local community centre, where the season’s ending awards banquet was hosted. And, yes, there was pizza.