Braden Walkus

Warriors win another for Walkus

Warriors make it four in a row over the Bulls at the Gilbert Walkus Memorial Jr. Memorial Hockey Classic.

PORT HARDY—For the first time in the four years of the Gilbert Walkus Memorial Jr. Memorial Hockey Classic, young Braden Walkus failed to get the ceremonial opening breakaway shot into the Port Hardy Bulls net.

But if the Bulls thought that was an omen of things to come, they were sadly mistaken.

Shelby Cockell scored a natural hat trick in the opening period, goaltender Jason Saunders claimed a shutout between the pipes and Corey Swain had a hand in every goal as the Port Hardy Warriors topped the Bulls 4-0 Saturday at Don Cruickshank Memorial Arena.

It was the fourth straight win for the Warriors in honour of their fallen teammate, Gil Walkus, who died along with Peter Charlie and Patricia Charlie in an apartment fire on New Year’s Day, 2010.

Since then, the two local men’s hockey league rivals have gathered on the opening weekend of the new year to pay tribute to the standout who, in his final full season of play, led the North Island Commercial League in scoring.

This year’s game was not confirmed until two days prior to puck drop, and was organized by Leigh Deans with assistance from Brian Texmo and the quick response of players from both teams.

The evening began with a brief introduction by Texmo, a minute of silence for Walkus, and then the commemorative puck drop and breakaway shot by Braden Walkus, 11, Gilbert’s oldest son.

“Every year, it’s not the countdown to Christmas for Bray, it’s the countdown to the Warriors-Bulls classic!” Crystal Walkus, Braden’s mother and Gilbert’s widow, wrote on the event’s Facebook page.

Each of the past three seasons the youngster scored the opening goal when the Bulls’ netminders allowed him openings. Braden this time attempted a one-handed push shot to the far post while skating right-to-left through the slot. Bulls goalie Colin Hunko dropped into the butterfly and got a toe pad on the puck, redirecting it to the post where it bounced off and came to a stop.

Hunko had less success with Cockell, who scored almost identical shots from the slot off assists from Swain at 4:20 and 7:11 of the first period to stake the Warriors to a 2-0 lead. Cockell made it 3-0 at 11:36 of the period when he lifted a rebound into an open net after Hunko’s save on Quinn Mellow left the goalie out of the net. Swain had the second assist on the goal.

It remained a 3-0 game through a mostly scoreless second period, despite brisk, back-and-forth play between the teams.

Swain finally capped the scoring at 18:13, finishing a nifty 2-on-1 rush by feeding teammate Eddie Walkus and tapping in the quick return pass after Hunko moved to cut off Walkus’s angle.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A second wave of COVID-19 is probable, if history tells us anything

B.C.’s top doctor says that what health officials have learned this round will guide response in future

Alert Bay: COVID-19 cases go from 30 to zero thanks to health and emergency planning

Dr. Cutfeet says community leadership set Alert Bay up for success

Kwakiutl First Nation cautiously eases restrictions around COVID-19; Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw to remain locked down for now

Both First Nations near Port Hardy have no COVID-19 cases, and are prioritizing community safety

Pacific Coastal Airlines will resume service next month

‘We are pleased to confirm that we will be resuming scheduled service on June 1, 2020’

MP Rachel Blaney feels low-income boost for seniors falls short, but is pleased with the support for commercial fishers

‘Seniors in our communities have been asking for help with additional costs due to COVID-19’

LIVE: Procession to honour Snowbirds Capt. Jennifer Casey comes to Halifax

Snowbirds service member died in a crash in Kamloops one week ago

RCMP facing ‘systemic sustainability challenges’ due to provincial policing role

Provinces, territories and municipalities pay anywhere from 70 to 90 per cent of the cost of the RCMP’s services

One man dead after standoff with Chilliwack RCMP

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the RCMP’s role in the death

B.C. employers worry about safety, cash flow, second wave in COVID-19 restart

A survey found 75 per cent of businesses worry about attracting customers

Ex-BC Greens leader Andrew Weaver says province came close to early election

Disagreement centred on the LNG Canada project in northern B.C.

Canada’s NHL teams offer options to season-ticket holders

Canadian teams are offering refunds, but also are pushing a number of incentives to let them keep the money

B.C. premier says lessons to learn from past racism during response to pandemic

B.C. formally apologized in the legislature chamber in 2008 for its role in the Komagata Maru tragedy

Snowbirds to remain at Kamloops Airport indefinitely after fatal crash

small contingent of the Snowbirds team is staying in Kamloops, acting as stewards of the jets

Oak Bay man stumbles upon eagle hunting seal, grabs camera just in time

The eagle did ‘a perfect butterfly stroke to shore’ with its prey, photographer says

Most Read