Webster Elementary School students are hyped on hockey after BC Hockey made a stop at the Warfield school on Tuesday as part of its 100th anniversary celebration and tour across the province.
In cooperation with Greater Trail Minor Hockey Association, BC Hockey representative George Cochrane, father of former Trail Smoke Eater defenceman Carter Cochrane, hosted the event that brought the World Junior Hockey Championship trophy to Webster.
“The 100 years of BC Hockey, when you think about it is pretty amazing,” said Cochrane. “And minor hockey is at the root of that, without minor hockey BC Hockey wouldn’t be around for 100 years, there’s no question about that, so the 100-year tour, the grass roots of the game, those are really a big part of what we’re doing.”
Joining the BC Hockey presentation was KidSport-Trail, as well as the Trail Smoke Eaters coach and GM Jeff Tambellini, captain Braeden Tuck, Owen Ozar, and Kieran O’Hearn, and of course Stax, the Smokies mascot.
The tour started Oct. 1 in Smithers and will visit 40 schools across the province, interacting with students and teachers and introducing the game of floorball. About 300 Webster students packed the gymnasium, with many grabbing a stick and trying the game with the help of the Smoke Eaters coach and players.
“Floorball is the game that we’re using to promote hockey and introduce kids to the sport and maybe get them a little bit excited about the game,” said Cochrane. “If kids aren’t playing, maybe they will decide they want to get involved with minor hockey locally.”
Webster was also a big winner, as BC Hockey donates both sets of floorball hockey sticks and balls to the schools to keep the students active and engaged in the sport of hockey.
“The goal is really to promote healthy living, sport participation, introduce young students to the game of hockey and also promote the World Junior Hockey Championships,” said Cochrane. ” For the school, it’s an opportunity for them to have their students be a little more active and a way to participate, and again hopefully promote the sport of hockey.”
But perhaps the highlight of the BC Hockey presentation was the introduction of ‘Celly,’ the BC Hockey mascot. Screams and cheers from the Webster students greeted the massive white teddy bear sporting a no. 19 BC Hockey jersey as he ran a lap high-fiving the captivated crowd, and later handed out hockey cards and miniature Cellys to the young students.
On February 9, 1919 the British Columbia Amateur Hockey Association (now BC Hockey) was established at a meeting in the basement of the old Daily Province Newspaper building located at 142 East Hastings Street in old Gastown in Vancouver.
Since its start, minor hockey has grown by leaps and bounds across the province, and while the look of it has changed over the years, grass roots hockey like that in Trail, still thrives, thanks in part to the efforts of BC Hockey.
As part of the 100th anniversary festivities, BC Hockey released its 100 top moments earlier this summer with the 1939 and ‘61 World Champion Trail Smoke Eaters heading up the Teams’ list, along with the Greater Trail teams that won nine Coy Cups, and Greater Trail builders and players like referee Jim Mailey, Bobby Kromm, Tom McVie, Tom Rennie, Ray Ferraro, Cesare Maniago, Seth Martin, and the Tambellini family included.
Vancouver and Victoria will host the World Junior Hockey Championships from Dec. 26 to Jan. 5 in recognition of a century of hockey in B.C.