LANTZ: The Oak Park Raiders from Winnipeg may have been disappointed that their trip to a hockey tournament in Halifax ended sooner than they wanted. But the face of disappointment quickly changed to one of appreciation and gratitude 12 hours later.
After being eliminated early from the McNeil Motors hockey tournament, hosted by Auburn High, the Raiders—3,500 miles from home—found themselves with nothing to do until their flight home on Nov. 18. So they became tourists, and took a trip to Peggy’s Cove, all the while another coach was putting feelers out to the Lockview High Dragons to see if they wished to have a game on Sunday afternoon Nov. 17.
And within 12 hours, the East Coast Rumble was born, complete with a championship banner, signed by all the Dragons, and hockey pucks as keepsakes for each of the Raiders players.
“Things didn’t turnout how we wanted in the tournament and we ended it very early,” said head coach Ian MacDonald. “We had a couple of extra days in N.S., and because of that one of our parents took it upon themselves to contact Lockview and arrange this game.
MacDonald said the gesture set the mood as the team heads back for the remainder of their season.
“We couldn’t have asked for a better experience,” he said. “It was just a complete class act. We’re thrilled to have been part of it.”
Raiders team captain Ethan Berezowski said the game was a fun one.
“It was a little bit of practice, a little extra hockey so we can bring it back to Winnipeg,” he said. “I was amazed they made a custom banner, custom pucks, they went all out. It’s just wonderful.”
The team visited Peggy’s Cove, which they found to be very beautiful.
“It’s absolutely unbelievable,” he said, adding they will be back.
Lockview head coach Todd Allison said the team within the team is how they were able to pull it off and make the game happen.
“We put all this together because of parent help,” he said. “The East Hants Sportsplex was wonderful as they came through with the extra hour ice time. They made it as much of a game as possible.”
Allison said the Raiders were bummed their tournament play concluded so soon.
“I think we changed that disappointment for them with having this game,” he said.
He said he received an email detailing the situation, and after a couple of phone calls the game was arranged and scheduled. It’s normally their regular practice time of an hour.
Allison said he believes the game made the trip for the Raiders.
“I really think we changed their outlook ,” said Allison. “They got more than they were expecting when they came here. Everyone hears what Maritimers are like, and the way we like to give. I think they were left thinking they had definitely made the right choice.”
The specially designed banner and pucks were presented to the Oak Park squad after the game was finished, which the Manitoba team won 6-3. It was 2-2 after two periods.
The team was scheduled to have donairs and pop, but they had a team meal planned back at their hotel in downtown Halifax as they watched the Blue Bombers in the Western Final of the CFL playoffs.