PORT ALICE — When it came time to assign credit for their third straight Oscar Hickes Memorial Hockey Tournament title, the hometown Neucel Islanders singled out the one guy who wasn’t even on the ice.
“We did it for Mikey,” said Bill Jacques, who scored two goals in the Islanders’ 5-1 victory over Getting Greasy Sunday in the A Final of the 32nd annual tournament. “That was our motivation.”
“Mikey” is Islanders forward Mike Schofield, who suffered a compression fracture of a thoracic vertebra when he crashed headfirst into the boards in the team’s first game of the tourney Friday evening.
Schofield was taken from the ice on a back board and transported to Campbell River, where he was treated and released with orders to avoid vigorous activity for the next 10 weeks.
Schofield was back at the arena Sunday, and made his way gingerly to the locker room to congratulate his teammates after their victory.
“It was pretty scary,” Schofield said of the incident, which occurred when he got tangled up with Shelby Cockell of the Port Hardy Warriors as they chased a puck toward the boards. “It was just an accident; it was nobody’s fault.”
Getting Greasy, a team of current and former Port Alice skaters reunited for the weekend, was tied 1-1 with the Islanders at intermission after Greg Brieba’s opening goal was matched by a score by the Islanders’ Dave Stewart.
But Wayne Magnusson scored just 48 seconds into the second and final period, Scott Williams tallied two minutes later, and Jacques added a wraparound and a one-timer as the Islanders pulled away.
What turned the tide at intermission?
“We did a little cheer for Mike, and that was it,” said Jacques, who said Schofield’s brother, Troy Schofield, asked to lead a team cheer for the injured skater before they took the ice for the final period.
The Islanders’ lineup was bolstered with the addition of several players from out of town, including Jacques, Williams, Curtis Martyn and Marty Gage of Port Hardy and Glenn Moore of Port McNeill.
“I’d just like to thank all the volunteers, everyone in Port Alice who comes out to make this happen,” said Jacques, who has played in the Oscar Hickes tournament since 1987. “All the fund-raisers, the people who run the beer garden, it’s total hospitality.
“It’s like that every year, and that’s why guys keep coming back.”
And it wasn’t just the “guys”.
In addition to a number of father-son groupings who have emerged as the tournament has matured, last weekend’s tourney featured at least two sets of father-daughter teammates.
In the B final, Gord and Chelsea Jones skated together for the Port McNeill Ice Devils, who suffered an 11-5 loss to the Courtenay-based Maniacs.
In the C final, Pat Murray and daughter Emily of Port Alice shared the ice for Relativity, which fell 8-3 to the Port McNeill Pioneers.
The tournament was initially set up for four divisons but was realigned into three divisions after drawing 16 teams.
The annual event is part hockey tournament, part homecoming and part block party, and all fund-raiser for several organizations. Breakfast and lunch were served by parents and students from North Island Secondary School to help fund its dry grad; the Port Alice minor hockey and youth soccer associations both benefited from the concession, 50/50 draws, the raffle table and puck toss; Henny Penny Preschool received the admission; Port Alice Old-Timers hosted the beer garden; and the Port Alice Legion Ladies’ Auxiliary benefitted from Saturday evening’s turkey dinner at the Legion Hall.
Maniacs 11, Devils 5
The Devils scored the first two goals of the game and Al Rushton finished with a hat trick, but the Maniacs scored in bunches to claim the B trophy.
The teams met previously, in the 1 a.m. Saturday game, with the Devils rolling to a 10-0 victory. But defenseman Chris Carlson suggested the visitors might have been somewhat less lubricated in Sunday’s rematch.
Andrew Jones and Danny Parker added goals for the Devils in the loss, and Parker finished with two assists.
Pioneers 8, Relativity 3
Peter Rice, Steve Verbrugge and Dan Wilson scored two goals each as the Port McNeill squad took the first trophy of the day.
Doug Grant and Mike Hodgson also found the net and Doug Bondue was the winner in goal as the Pioneers finished with a 4-0 record in tournament play.
James MacGregor had two goals and Matt Foster contributed a score for Relativity.