Martin C. Barry
The unpredictable weather that the Laval and Montreal regions have been experiencing in recent years played havoc with Laval Senior Academy’s annual Hockey Day event recently.
Scheduled to take place on Feb. 23 and 24, the two-day gathering – which has been highly successful in past years – was reduced this year to just two hockey matches when unseasonably warm temperatures melted the frozen surface on the Chris-Karigiannis and 3rd Battalion Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infrantry Memorial Rink behind the school on Souvenir Blvd.
Mother Nature stole the ice
“The rain and the temperatures stole our ice,” said Daniel Johnson, a special education technician at Laval Senior Academy, who has been the driving force behind the tournament each year. “We had to improvise. We decided to join the weather rather than fight it.”
Had Mother Nature cooperated, the schedule on day one would have seen teams from Sir Wilfrid Laurier School Board elementary schools play some outdoor ice hockey games, followed by matches of student sledge hockey, followed by an LSA vs. Laurentian Regional High School hockey match.
The schedule on Saturday would have included some Laval minor league hockey games, student ringette, a regular Memorial Cup game involving Canadian Armed Forces soldiers with local police and staff, followed by a ceremony celebrating Laval Senior Academy Hockey Excellence and Alumni.
Memorial Cup mini-match
However, going with the flow, the participants – including the soldiers from the 3PPCLI who flew in from Alberta as they do every year to take part – played ball hockey in the warm sunshine on a quickly-improvised rink set up in the asphalted area just behind the school, and settled for a short and improvised Memorial Cup match.
Soldiers from the Laval-based 4th Batallion of the Royal 22nd Regiment also helped out with a BBQ. A La Belle Province restaurant operator pitched in with a donation of hot dog and hamburger meat for the grills. Although there was no hockey action on the ice, the LSA students and the military personnel got the chance to renew friendships.
Opportunity to make friends
While the number of spectators was lower than in years past, those who did attend enjoyed the celebration, while helping to promote student leadership and access to community sport. In the Memorial Cup game, soldiers from 3PPCLI in Alberta played the 4R22R battalion stationed in Laval.
The soldiers from 3PPCLI spent the days leading up to Hockey Day with students at the school. Chomedey MNA Guy Oullette helped perform the ceremonial face off. The Laval Police Department’s Cst. Jimmy Mourelatos was among those who turned up to show support.