PORT HARDY—Boasting a bigger lineup and a new venue, the annual Harvey Walkus Memorial floor hockey tourney played out in front of a packed house at the Civic Centre last weekend. In past years Wakas Hall has been the sole venue, but this year's addition of the Civic Centre allowed for a slightly bigger lineup of teams and more seating for Sunday’s finals.
Not that the fans got to do much in the way of sitting, as both the mens and ladies finales brought the crowd to its feet in spells as each went down to the wire.
In the mens playoffs, Harvey Memorial 3 fought off the Fort Rupert Roaches to claim a final berth against the Cheam Chinook, which made the trip from Chilliwack for the tourney.
An early strike from Patrick Walkus down the right gave the home side the advantage but the visitors were back on level terms minutes later, a powerful shot from the high slot finding the net for Cheam. The visitors then made it 2-1 with a carbon copy to take an advantage into the halfway break.
Harvey Memorial tied it up straight after the break, Shelby Cockell latching on to an Ethan Shaw assist to bring the home side level.
A masterful solo effort from George Walkus put Harvey Memorial 3-2 up. As Cheam pushed forward looking for a third, the Hardy side tried to catch the visitors on the break. They finally succeeded when George collected the ball on the blue line and sprinted clear to beat the goalie one-on-one.
With the minutes ticking down Cockell got his second and sealed the win for the home side, firing past the unsighted Cheam goalie off a restart.
In the Ladies division Harvey Memorial 1 lost out 2-1 to Gil’s Girls in a nail-biter.
There was little to choose between the two sides in the opening ten minutes. While Harvey Memorial enjoyed the majority of the possession, Gil’s Girls looked the more dangerous in front of goal.
It took a slip-up late in the half to break the deadlock as Haley Scow miscued an attempted pass, steering it between her own posts to give Gil’s the advantage.
Soon after the break Harvey Memorial were level after a mistake at the other end. A long pass rebounded off the boards and rolled behind goalie Maxine Walkus. Cheyenne Janzen reacted first to pounce on the ball and steer home from the crease.
Vanessa Walkus grabbed the winner for Gil’s Girls, firing in a shot then putting back her own rebound from the save.
Organizer Gary Walkus thanked all the teams and supporters who made the tournament a success. “I would like to thank my Mom and Dad specially for always giving us the tools we need to be who we are and do what we need to do,” he said. “And thank you to everyone who helped put this together: sponsors, fans, players, refs, score-keepers, concession workers, and family and friends.