By GEORDIE CARRAGHER
Feb. 17, 2012
In November 2011, the Abbotsford Ice atom girls’ hockey team entered the Scotiabank Bigger Save contest.
The winning team would travel to Prince Edward Island to be part of CBC’s Hockey Day in Canada festivities.
At the time, the team was saving $900 to enter a hockey tournament in Surrey, B.C.
On December 12, the Bigger Save draw was made.
Abbotsford was selected, and they were on their way across the country.
Last Saturday, Abbotsford took to the ice, playing against the Pownal Red Devils at the Eastlink Arena in Summerside in a game partially shown on the Hockey Day in Canada broadcast.
Abbotsford coach Doug Deck said Hockey Day in Canada was a great experience.
“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and I’m so glad it happened to us.”
Deck said Prince Edward Island welcomed the team with open arms.
“We’re coming back, this is awesome. We’ve loved every bit of it.”
Lorne Rowan, one of the team’s parents, echoed Deck’s words.
“It’s been wonderful, full of amiable folks and beautiful scenery.
“When we got to P.E.I., everybody was really hospitable, and it was almost as if we were family.”
The Ice made it to Prince Edward Island safely, but even after winning the contest, it wasn’t fully certain.
Rowan said there were concerns about logistics leading up to the trip.
“How are we going to make it here? We had to worry about finances, as well as everybody getting the time off work to come here.”
In addition to the game, the team also got to practise with Wendel Clark and other Toronto Maple Leafs trainers, as well as seeing the Stanley Cup.
From there, the fundraising efforts gained more steam, including donations from local businesses, along with backing from the American Hockey League’s Abbotsford Heat through a ticket drive.
The day before they left for Prince Edward Island, the local Credit Union presented the team with another donation.
“It was a real coming together in the community with all the support,” Rowan said.
The Ice won the game 4-1, but the win was made sweeter with the connection to Hockey Day in Canada.
Doug Deck said the team would treasure the moment forever.
“We’ve been watching it ever since it started, but to be part of Hockey Day in Canada, we’re on top of the world.”
Filed under: Geordie Carragher