The Whistler Firefighters local number 3949 held a six-team hockey tournament and fundraiser over the weekend, raising $1,100 for the B.C. Burn Fund.
The tournament include members of Whistler Fire Services, as well as two firefighter teams from Vancouver, a firefighter team from North Vancouver, the Whistler/Pemberton RCMP and the Mongolie Grillers.
It was an exciting three days of hockey, with a very high level of talent on every team.
On Sunday, the Mongolie Grillers faced off against the RCMP to determine the overall winner. The game wound up in a 2-2 tie, with the RCMP scoring the equalizer with just five seconds left. The game then went to a five-player shoot-out, but that didnt resolve anything either.
It came down to a sudden death shoot-out, which went in favour of the Mongolie Grillers. The Grillers, who finished second in the Whistler Mens Recreational Hockey League, got a boost from the presence of a genuine NHL-er on their roster, Steve McKenna of the Pittsburgh Penguins. Thankfully, said tournament organizer Dave Evans, the six foot, eight inch McKenna held back a little.
The Whistler firefighters matched up with one of the top firefighter teams from Vancouver in the consolation final and lost, to finish fourth overall.
One of the highlights of the weekend was a sledge hockey game, which was held in recognition of the Rick Hansen Wheels In Motion fundraiser that was also taking place on Saturday.
Members of the B.C. sledge hockey team, many with their eyes on the Paralympics, brought a couple of dozen sledges to Whistler and filled them with members from all of the other teams for an intense demo game.
"We just had a blast out there," said Evans. "We were crashing all over the place and tipping over each other, and it was just a great bonding experience for all of the players."
Evans said he has a new found respect for sledge hockey players, after playing the game for himself.
"My elbows and shoulders are killing me," he said.
The organizers of this first tournament were impressed by how well it went, and the players from the city said they would be back again next year.
"Some of the guys said it was the best tournament theyd ever been to, and we raised a lot of money, a lot more than we expected. Next year Id like to grow it even more to 10 or 12 teams," said Evans.
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