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Hay River Huskies defeat Flyers
Fort Simpson fields three teams in rec hockey tournament

Roxanna Thompson
Northern News Services
Published Thursday, January 26, 2012

As the final minutes in the third period slipped off the clock it was clear, to the disappointment of the crowd, a hometown team was not going to win Fort Simpson's Men's Recreational Hockey Tournament.

NNSL photo/graphic

While pursued by Clifford Antoine of Fort Simpson, Cameron Sapp, left, of the Fort Providence Bulls, moves the puck around K&K Expediting's goalie Michael Rowe during a round robin game of the Fort Simpson Men's Recreational Hockey Tournament. - Roxanna Thompson/NNSL photo

On the ice, the Fort Simpson Nahanni Inn Flyers, which had gone undefeated up to that point, were locked in battle with the Ptarmigan Inn Huskies from Hay River. The game had remained close during the first two periods with the Huskies up 4-3 after two periods of play.

Just minutes into the third period, the Flyers tied the game only to see the Huskies pull ahead again. Despite scoring once more the Flyers lost to the Huskies 9-5.

"It feels great to win," said Andre Chabot, the Huskies' captain.

Chabot said the team's success lay in keeping the game simple skating hard and lots of shooting. The Huskies had 11 players, all from Hay River.

"It was good competition," said Chabot who added most of the five teams in the tournament were evenly matched.

Top goaltender award

For finishing in first, the Huskies came away with $3,000 in prize money. Their goalie, Sheldon Bolt, won the top goaltender award and teammate Joey Hiebert was named the top scorer.

The Flyers took $1,500 for second place while the Fort Providence Bulls went home with $600 and third place.

"It's always a good tournament," said Michael Vandell, the Bull's captain.

The Bulls were ranked second after the round robin with three wins and one loss, but lost against the Huskies 6-1 in the semi-finals.

"We just came out flat," Vandell said about the game.

In the third place game, the Bulls defeated Nogha Enterprises from Fort Simpson 4-2.

The win was a team effort, said Vandell with Cameron Sapp, Fabien Nadli and Vandell each scoring goals.

"We played right, skated hard and passed good," he said.

Vandell said the players on Nogha also skated hard and their goalies, Sheldon McKay and David Lafferty, stopped a lot of pucks.

The Nogha team was a new entry in this year's tournament, having received sponsorship for jerseys from Nogha Enterprises Ltd.

"I think they did good for a local team," said Darren Hardisty, Nogha's captain, speaking before the consolation game. "Everyone skated hard and played the game."

Seventeen players comprised the team, including a core of six men who had played together in a tournament last year in Tulita.

'Hockey spirit in the community'

Chris Hewitt, one of the tournament's organizers, said the tournament was a success and met the goals of providing a venue for the hockey players to compete in and giving the community a chance to watch competitive hockey.

"There's definitely a hockey spirit in the community," said Hewitt, who noted that more fans had come out to watch the games than normal.

Fort Simpson fielded a total of three teams. One of the individual awards, the tournament player award, went to Shawn Gillis, the captain of the Fort Simpson K&K Expediting team for exhibiting sportsmanship both on and off the ice.

Hewitt said he credited Gillis for organizing the team because often players from the village don't create a third team, knowing that it will be the weakest of the three. Gillis' team went in knowing they were there for fun, Hewitt said.

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