Braden Walkus

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.

 

Just Posted

Port Hardy council has agreed to cancel Canada Day celebrations in wake of the discovery of the remains of 215 children being found on the grounds of a former residential school. (North Island Gazette file photo)
Council votes to cancel Canada Day celebrations in wake of mass grave sites being found

Coun. Treena Smith made the motion for the chamber to not host Canada Day celebrations this year

Port Hardy Fire Rescue responded to an early morning fire around 3:50 a.m. on Sunday, June 13. Two porta-potties were on fire at the Visitor’s Centre on Hastings Street. Anyone with information is asked to contact the RCMP at 250-949-6335. (Port Hardy Fire Rescue photo)
Firefighters respond to early morning fire near visitor centre in Port Hardy

Two porta-potties were on fire at the Visitor’s Centre on Hastings Street

North Island MLA Michele Babchuk. Photo contributed
COMMENTARY: MLA Michele Babchuk talks the future of forestry

‘These forests are important to every single one of us, myself included’

Dr. Prean Armogam hands over a cheque for $10,000 to Hardy Bay Senior Citizens Society president Rosaline Glynn. The money will be going towards a new roof for the Port Hardy seniors centre. This is the second donation Dr. Armogam has made to the society, giving them $5,000 a little over a year ago. (Tyson Whitney - North Island Gazette)
Doctor donates $10k to Hardy Bay Senior Citizens Society for new roof

This was the second donation Armogam has given to the society

New COVID-19 cases on Vancouver Island by local health area for the week of May 30-June 5. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control image)
COVID-19 cases drop again almost everywhere on Vancouver Island

Nanaimo had four new cases last week, down from 22 the week before

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (31) is scored on by Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martinez, not pictured, during the second period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinal playoff series Monday, June 14, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Habs fall 4-1 to Vegas Golden Knights in Game 1 of NHL semifinal series

Match was Montreal’s first game outside of Canada in 2021

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, assistant deputy speaker at the B.C. legislature, presides over committee discussions. The legislature is completing its delayed spring session this week, with most MLAs participating by video conference. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100 over weekend

Only 68 new cases recorded Monday, four additional deaths

Gabriola Island artist Sheila Norgate is promoting the Digital Innovation Group’s art impact survey. (File photo)
Vancouver Island artists get behind regional arts impact study

Artists urged to use their stature to help put arts and culture super-region on the map

The BC Ferries website went down for a short while Monday morning following a provincial announcement that recreational travel between health authorities can resume Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries’ website crashes in wake of provincial reopening announcement

Website back up now, recreational travel between health regions to resume as of Tuesday

Neighbours fight a small late-night bush fire with garden hoses and shovels in Cinnabar Valley on June 5. They couldn’t get help from local fire services because the fire was located in an area under B.C. Wildfire Services jurisdiction. (Photo courtesy Muriel Wells)
Neighbours on edge of Nanaimo city limits left to put out bush fire themselves

Cinnabar Valley residents tackle fire with hoses and buckets for two and a half hours

Darren Campbell’s truck (pictured) was stolen when he stopped to check on a car in a ditch on Cowichan Bay Road on Monday morning. (Facebook photo)
Vancouver Island Good Samaritan’s truck stolen in nasty trick

‘Try to be a Good Samaritan and my $20,000 truck gets stolen right under my nose’

The Kamloops Indian Residential School is photographed using a drone in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, June, 14, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former school earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Communities grapple with what to do with former residential and day schools

Some tear them down as a tool to help healing, others repurpose them as tools for moving forward

Creative handmade signs abound at the June 13 Tofino rally for old growth trees. (Nora O’Malley photo)
VIDEO: Tofino stands in solidarity for Fairy Creek Blockades

Over 150 supporters attend rally hosted by Friends of Clayoquot Sound

Most Read