TYSON WHITNEY PHOTOS The Harvey Walkus Memorial ball hockey tournament took over the Don Cruickshank Memorial Arena in Port Hardy April 20-22.

Harvey Walkus Memorial ball hockey tournament takes over Cruickshank Arena

“Harvey was a tremendous hockey player, he played with his heart.”

A ball hockey tournament in honour of Harvey Walkus’ life took over Port Hardy last weekend.

Walkus, an incredibly talented floor hockey player, sadly lost his fight with depression and took his own life in 1998.

Gary Walkus did not want his brother’s death to be in vain, and organized the first Harvey Walkus Memorial ball hockey tournament in 2000. This year the tournament was held at the Don Cruickshank Memorial Arena on April 20-22, which featured 10 mens teams and five ladies teams battling it out to see who would meet in the finals.

In the ladies division, Gil’s Girls and the Harvey Walkus Memorial team both qualified for a date on Sunday afternoon, and the game ended up being a real nail-biter.

The first period was back and forth for 20 minutes straight with Gil’s Girls getting the better chances on net, but the Harvey Walkus Memorial’s goaltender really came to play that day, shutting the door on chance after chance, making great save after great save to keep the game tied.

In the second period, Harvey Walkus Memorial struck early at 18:16, finding the back of the Gil’s Girls net off a hard shot through traffic.

Gil’s Girls battled hard for the tying goal after that, but were just unable to blast the ball past the Harvey Walkus Memorials goaltender, who continued to stand on her head and make the saves when they mattered the most.

With less than five minutes left on the clock, Harvey Walkus Memorial added an insurance goal and that was all she wrote for Gil’s Girls.

The men’s final was held immediately after, which featured two out of town teams, the Sting and the Jets.

The Sting would strike early on with a goal within the first minute, but the Jets would answer back with five minutes left in the first period, scoring the tying goal off a hard shot from the point.

In the second period, a Sting player broke in on an offensive rush and roofed the ball top shelf off the crossbar to make it 2-1, but the Jets refused to lay down and quit, tying the game back up off a scramble in front of the net.

The Jets would then take the lead off a huge slapshot from “centre ice” that deflected its way into the Sting’s net, then scored another goal at 12:46 off a slapshot from the corner through traffic, before adding one more goal at 3:30 to make it 5-2.

The Sting went into desperation mode from that point, and they managed to score two goals back to back to make it 5-4, but that was as close as they would get.

The buzzer sounded and the Jets celebrated, throwing their equipment in the air and hugging their goaltender, who had stood his ground for the last minute, making clutch saves to keep their lead in tact.

After the game ended, Gary Walkus spoke briefly about his brother Harvey before handing out the awards.

“I’d like to thank everybody, my siblings, my parents — a lot of work went into hosting this tournament.”

Walkus said it has been “20 years since we lost Harvey… This tournament is held to promote suicide awareness, because that’s how we lost Harvey, it was suicide.”

He added that every year he and his family put on the ball hockey tournament, “It keeps our healing process moving along… Harvey was a tremendous hockey player, he played with his heart. Gila’kasla to those that support this tournament each and every year.”



Just Posted

VIDEO: North Island Bantam Eagles tie Dawson Creek Canucks in front of massive hometown crowd in Port Hardy

The Tier 3 Bantam Championships continued in style last night at the Don Cruickshank Memorial Arena.

Port Alice’s Scotiabank branch closing for good next month

Port Alice is going through a transition to a more diversified economy that includes tourism.

VIDEO: North Island Bantam Eagles blast Kelowna Rockets in first game of the Championships in Port Hardy

The Eagles are back in action at 7:30 p.m. tonight against the Dawson Creek KFC Canucks.

Mowi Canada West releases statement on Nanaimo teenager’s workplace death

“Our thoughts are with the family at this time, all of us at Mowi are devastated by this tragedy.”

VIDEO: RCMP ask kids to help name soon-to-be police dogs

13 German shepherd puppies will be born this year

Horvat scores 16 seconds into OT as Canucks beat Blackhawks 3-2

Pettersson sets rookie scoring record for Vancouver

No injuries, pollution in Vancouver Harbour ship collision: Transport Canada

Transportation Safety Board says it has deployed a team of investigators look into the incident

Budget 2019: Five things to watch for in the Liberals’ final fiscal blueprint

Finance Minister Bill Morneau will release the Trudeau government’s final budget on Tuesday

New concussion guidelines launched for Canada’s Olympians, Paralympians

The guidelines will be in effect at this summer’s Pan American, Parapan American Games in Lima, Peru

Alphonso Davies doubtful for Canada game against French Guiana in Vancouver

Canada will be without injured captain Scott Arfield and veteran Will Johnson

Watchdog called after man who yelled racial slurs at B.C. vigil hurt during arrest

BC RCMP say man was ‘acting suspiciously’ at prayer vigil for victims of New Zealand mosque shootings

NDP’s Jagmeet Singh steps into the House of Commons, making history

Burnaby South MP becomes first visible minority to lead a federal party in the House of Commons

Most Read