A weekday morning and afternoon filled with hockey? If you asked the girls from eight Georgian Bay Secondary School Association teams if they’d be interested, the answer would be a resounding yes.
The Pink Puck Cup, played early in semester two, gave an opportunity for the Simcoe County Athletic Association (SCAA) and Catholic School Athletics of Simcoe County (CSASC) to go head-to-head in tournament competition.
“Since we’ve split into two leagues, we’ve wanted the opportunity to play against the other schools and coming back after the exam break, we wanted to do it as early as we could in semester two,” said Martin Carl, Eastview coach and event organizer. “We know that whoever wins our league will play the winner of their league and now we will have seen those teams and we’ll be ready for that.”
The tournament, which saw Eastview, Innisdale, Bear Creek and Collingwood play one game each against St. Peter’s, St. Joseph’s, St. Joan of Arc and St. Theresa’s, brought in about $1,000 for charity.
“It’s raising money for cancer,” Carl said. “We run the Blue Puck Cup in the fall for the boys and then the Pink Puck Cup in February for the girls and all of the proceeds go to the Canadian Cancer Society. It’s not a huge fundraiser, since we don’t sell tickets to it, but the money doesn’t go back to the school or anything. We do the same kind of things with the Terry Fox Bowl (in football) and the Kempenfelt Cup (also for hockey). Any tournament we run, we make sure all of the proceeds go to charity, and it encourages other schools to participate.”
The event also serves as a lesson for the players about giving back to the community.
“I think it’s really important,” Carl said. “They do community service hours, which are important, and this helps them think about the idea of giving back to the community. One day, they’ll be adults. Someone put on a tournament for you, are you going to do the same for your kids when you’re an adult? It’s about doing something for a good cause.”
Raising money in this format was something that Nikki Delaire certainly enjoyed.
“It’s kind of exhilarating,” said the Bear Creek player. “I like that we get to come out here, hang out with friends, including a lot of girls from other schools that I knew on my past teams and come out here and have fun and support breast cancer awareness.”
For Delaire, it was also a chance to go up against girls from three other Barrie schools – St. Joseph’s, St. Peter’s and St. Joan of Arc – that she wouldn’t get to take on in regular-season action.
“I know a few girls from St. Joe’s that play on my team, and I know at least one girl from every other team from either this year or past years of playing hockey, either with or against them,” she said. “It’s nice to come and play against them. It’s definitely fun. In practices, we go hard against each other, but now we’re actually playing against each other in a real game, so it’s fun.”
For Carl, whose Eastview squad entered the playoffs as the top seed, the competition at East Bayfield Community Centre also served as a glance at a possible opponent in the Georgian Bay Secondary School Athletics finals.
“As a coach, you ask your kids if they understand what they’re going to be going up against,” Carl said. “Now, they’ve had a look without all of the marbles on the line. If the first time you see them is at the Georgian Bay championship, then you say, ‘I wish I’d known’. Instead, now you’ve seen all of your potential opponents and if you get there, then you’re prepared.”
The Catholic board won the Ryder Cup-style event, earning 40 points to the SCAA’s 24.
Eastview, the lone team to win every game at the Pink Puck Cup, was the public-board champion, while St. Peter’s, which earned three victories and a shootout loss, was the top team in the CSASC.