North Island Eagles alumni forward Joe Murgatroyd

Alumni school midgets in benefit

Eagles alumni keep win streak in place in annual Hamper Fund benefit game.

PORT McNEILL—The fourth annual North Island Eagles Alumni benefit game turned into the fourth annual hockey clinic Saturday at Chilton Regional Arena.

But not before the Eagles midgets threatened to upstage the veterans — and not before both teams were nearly upstaged by the generosity of Port McNeill Minor Hockey’s players.

Eric Kennelly, John Murgatroyd and Andrew Laming scored two goals each as the alumni, bolstered by a cadre of former junior hockey standouts, pulled away in the second half for an 11-5 victory over the midgets in the annual exhibition to benefit the Gazette Hamper Fund.

But for a couple of shining minutes, after Emma Mitchell punched home a rebound of teammate Alex Scott’s shot at 4:30 of the second period, the midgets held a 3-2 lead, the program’s first in the series.

Alumnus Malcolm Browne, playing for the team for the first time after skating for the losing side each of the last three years, got the equalizer 2:14 later, and the teams went into intermission tied 3-3.

“It was different, not playing with all the same guys,” said Browne, who had skated in men’s league play this season with the Port McNeil Mustangs after graduating from the Eagles program last season. “There’s a lot of different age groups. I’m the youngest guy on the team, and the oldest is in his 50s.”

In past years, the intermission entertainment consisted of a scrimmage of Port McNeill Minor Hockey’s under-6 peanut players, occasionally joined by their Port Hardy counterparts. This time, however, PMMHA players Trent Beek and Brilynne Bell skated to centre ice and presented a $2,000 cheque to the Hamper Fund to midget captain Darryl Coon and Murgatroyd, the alumni captain.

The money was donated from the more than $21,000 raised by Port McNeill players in November, part of a program fundraiser sponsored by a prize package from PMMHA and Eagles alumnus and two-time Stanley Cup winner Willie Mitchell.

Each of the Port McNeill teams was allowed to keep a portion of their funds for team use. Beek, a bantam, had suggested the Hamper Fund donation idea to PMMHA president Scott Mitchell prior to the draw in which the bantam team won a Rogers Arena practice with Vancouver Canucks general manager Trevor Linden.

The club’s midget team contributed its entire $1,000, the bantams added $500, and other teams chipped in amounts ranging from $100 to $250 each. The game also produced donations of bags of food and toys for the Hamper Fund, and the Eagles midgets donated their $135 portion of the 50/50 draw.

In recent years, the alumni game has pit father against son and brother against brother, and this year was no different. Former Eagle Riley Browne skated for the alumni against brother Kenton, while alumni goalie Stevyn Ruel was opposed by younger brother Nyck in the midgets’ net. In an unusual twist, the losing coach was also the winning goalie, as midget coach Aaron Hinton played the second half in net for the alumni as they snapped the tie and pulled away to the win.

Coming out of the break, the alumni scored five straight goals in the late second and early third periods to grab a commanding 8-3 lead. The midgets had their last hurrah with back-to-back breakaway goals from Tyren Dustin and Kenton Browne to pull to 8-5, but additional breakaway tries by Thomas Symons and Cameron Grant were unsuccessful before the alumni added three goals in the final eight minutes.

“I can make that shot, but not against him,” said Symons, who attempted a deke-and-backhand that Hinton smothered. “He sees me do it in practice every day. It wasn’t an easy game. They’re old, but they’re fast. And they know their positions.”

Kennelly, another first-year alumnus who skated with the midgets a year ago, concurred.

“The older guys may be a little slower, but the passing is crisp,” he said. “Being the youngest guy on the team, I pretty much just tried to keep up with the passing.”

It was left to Malcolm Browne to console Symons, a Grade 11 student at North Island Secondary School, and his teammates following their loss.

“Hey, just two more years,” Browne said to Symons. “Then you can start winning.”

 

Just Posted

Port Harvey shipyard greenlit

Bylaw 895 has been adopted by RDMW

Port McNeill Volunteer Fire Department appoints deputy chief

Port McNeill Fire Chief Dean Tait has appointed 10+ year firefighter veteran… Continue reading

Port McNeill in Focus: Childcare Availability Crisis a Good News/Bad News Story

On average, childcare across the country is unavailable, unaffordable, and the quality varies.

Notice of change of operator for Mount Waddington transit services

The Regional District of Mount Waddington (RDMW) and BC Transit have received… Continue reading

Is Steve Nash Vancouver Island’s best athlete of all-time?

As Captain Canada gets ready to enter basketball’s Hall of Fame it’s time to debate his legacy

VIDEO: After the floods, comes the cleanup as Grand Forks rebuilds

Business owners in downtown wonder how long it will take for things to go back to normal

Woman’s death near Tofino prompts warning about ‘unpredictable’ ocean

Ann Wittenberg was visiting Tofino for her daughter Victoria Emon’s wedding

B.C. man facing deportation says terror accusation left him traumatized

Othman Hamdan was acquitted of terrorism-related charges by a B.C. Supreme Court judge in September

Will Taylor Swift’s high concert ticket prices stop scalpers?

Move by artist comes as B.C. looks to how to regulate scalpers and bots reselling concert tickets

36 fires sparked May long weekend, most due to lightning: BC Wildfire

As warmer weather nears, chief fire officer Kevin Skrepnek says too soon to forecast summer

Ariana Grande sends message of hope on anniversary of Manchester bombing

Prince William joins survivors and emergency workers for remembrance service

B.C. flood risk switches from snowmelt to rainfall: River Forecast Centre

Kootenays and Fraser River remain serious concerns

Pipeline more important than premiers meeting: Notley

“Canada has to work for all Canadians, that’s why we’re fighting for the pipeline”

Canadian government spending tens of millions on Facebook ads

From January 2016 to March 2018, feds spent more than $24.4 million on Facebook and Instagram ads

Most Read