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

Distracted Driver crashes into ditch along Byng Road

Port Hardy public works department confirms the incident was caused by distracted driving.

Salvation Army’s Kettle Campaign needs volunteers in Port Hardy

The Salvation Army’s Christmas Kettle Campaign is starting up on Nov. 29… Continue reading

Changes coming to BC Ferries reservations for Vancouver Island routes

Many customers are booking multiple reservations, inflating wait times

UPDATE: North Island highway crash resulting in serious injuries still under investigation

The two drivers were seriously injured and sent to a hospital in Victoria.

Port Hardy Mayor Dennis Dugas votes in favour of eliminating overtime pay for confidential secretary

“I think when staff makes a recommendation I have to support staff’s recommendation.”

VIDEO: B.C. legislature clerk, sergeant at arms suspended for criminal investigation

Clerk of the House Craig James, Sergeant-at-arms Gary Lenz on administrative leave

Trial: Witness describes encounter with accused murderer while tending to fatally injured Descoteau

Wright said he was working in his yard when he heard a woman screaming.

Former NHL player and coach Dan Maloney dies at 68

Maloney coached the Toronto Maple Leafs and Winnipeg Jets

Ex-MSU president charged with lying to police about Nassar

Lou Anna Simon was charged Tuesday with lying to police during an investigation

Police aim to prevent retaliation after Hells Angel found dead under B.C. bridge

IHIT confirms Chad Wilson, 43, was the victim of a ‘targeted’ homicide

Otter makes a snack out of koi fish in Vancouver Chinese garden

Staff say the otter has eaten at least five fish

Police looking into two more incidents at private Toronto all-boys’ school

Police and the school have said two of the prior incidents involved an alleged sexual assault

B.C. lumber mills struggle with shortage of logs, price slump

Signs of recovery after U.S. market swings, industry executive says

25% of Canadians still won’t say they use pot, survey says

Statistics Canada poll says Canadians on average were 18.9 years old when they first tried pot.

Most Read