The 10th annual hamper fund hockey game took over the ice Saturday night in Port McNeill.
The game features old teammates and friends reuniting to form the North Island Eagles Alumni team, who play against the U18 Eagles for three periods of fast-paced hockey action, and it’s all for a great cause, as fans and players both donate to the hamper drive to raise donations for the Gazette Christmas Hamper Fund.
The U18 Eagles got out to a quick start in the first period with back-to-back goals, courtesy of William Grant and Jack Barrett (assists going to Zach Spafford and Tyler Roper).
The Alumni would return fire in the second with three straight goals from Ty Morton, Ryan Rushton and Riley Browne, assists going to Shay Peterson, Darryl Coon, Derian Hamilton, and Rushton.
With the Alumni now leading 3-2, U18 Eagles’ forward Kale Hunt would answer back with a goal of his own to tie things up before the ice clean.
After the break, the U18’s were called for tripping, which lead to the Alumni’s Hamilton scoring on the powerplay to regain the lead, and then Morton netted the puck to make it 5-3 before the end of the second period.
Into the third the game went, and the Alumni were caught with too many men on the ice, which defenceman Nathan Strang capitalized on by scoring on the ensuing powerplay to bring the U18’s within one goal of tying the game.
That was when Thor Rosback made his presence known, netting the puck to regain the Alumni’s two-goal lead, only for Hunt to score for the U18’s late in the game to pull within one.
With time winding down, the U18’s pulled their goalie for the extra attacker, but weren’t able to find the tying goal. Instead, Morton fired the puck into the empty net with 14 seconds left to secure a 7-5 victory for the Alumni.
Also of note, the Port McNeill novice team entertained the crowd as the halftime show with a fun game that featured the use of the entire ice.
Kyle Rushton won the airplane toss for $15 and Angela Miner won the 50/50 for $207.50. Cash for Christmas tickets will be drawn Dec. 7.
Donations to the Gazette Christmas Hamper Fund ended up being over $800 in cash, a few hundred in gift cards and three boxes of toys. All food donations will go to the ‘Cram the Cruiser’ event being held next weekend.
“I would like to thank all the players that came out to represent the Eagles Alumni team, they put on a great show and I think the fans really enjoyed the event,” said U18 Eagles assistant coach Glenn Moore, who was in charge of putting together the Alumni team this year. “It was a lot of fun hanging out in the dressing room, hearing the old stories and having a lot of laughs, it was something we have all been missing.”
Moore added it was nice to have many other players that have been a part of the North Island Eagles teams over the years come down to the dressing room at the ice clean and share in the experience, and that he wanted to apologize to anyone that didn’t get asked to play.
“It’s hard when putting together a game like this to involve everyone, but maybe we should hold an Eagles Alumni event where everyone comes together for a game or two and then a social.”