Alberta Cup 'A' Final- A Game That Became So Much More

Discussion in 'NHL Draft - Prospects' started by hfboardsuser, Apr 25, 2005.

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  1. hfboardsuser

    hfboardsuser Registered User

    Nov 18, 2004
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    The 2005 Team Alberta Cup championship game could have not had more significance if it had been scripted, directed, and filmed.

    Two Calgary-area teams. Two rosters comprised of the best Bantam-aged players in hockey. Two squads playing for and paying their respects to two Canadians closet to their hearts.

    Terry Fox and Michael Gee never met, and never had had any reason to. Fox, in fact, passed on eight years before Gee was born. But the lives of both found themselves intertwined, though posthumously, at the Alberta Cup.

    Fox, as is well-known, was a quiet Winnipeg boy who went on to perform the run heard around the world. His legacy is ingrained in the minds and hearts of all Canadians. Such was the legacy the Calgary Northeast Flyers found strength in, dedicating their participation in the Alberta Cup to the 25th anniversary of Fox's Marathon of Hope.

    Another young man- Michael Gee- never had the chance to make his mark on the world, save for on the lives of the countless family and friends he touched in his brief 15 years of life. In an almost too-Canadian tragedy, Gee collapsed while skating in a tryout for the Drayton Valley Thunder of the AJHL on April 8th of this year. An hour later, in a local hospital, Gee passed away from what was later determined to be a hereditary heart condition. A year before, Gee had played in the 2004 Team Alberta Cup, representing southern Alberta on the Calgary North Stars.

    Touched by the tragedy, this year's version of the North Stars decided to honour his life by wearing patches with the initials MG.

    Driven by the dedication, perserverance and spirit of their respective heroes, the Calgary Flyers and North Stars entered the Alberta Cup on an emotional rollercoaster. Both rode it to the top of the tournament standings, through the playoffs, and into a championship game in front of a sold-out Edson Leisure Centre crowd.

    And in dramatic fashion, it would become the game of a lifetime for fans and players alike.

    At the 5:49 mark of the 1st period, North Star James Mitchell notched his first of the contest, followed 37 seconds later by his second.

    The two-goal shocker forced the Flyers to tighten up their defensive game. Despite spelling off North Stars' starting netminder Daylyn Flette with backup Steven Stanford, the Stars showed they too could play a safe game. The 2-0 lead looked like it might survive into the 3rd frame, but Flyer Quinn Gould put one past Stanford at exactly 17:00 of the 2nd.

    As the Alberta Cup final entered its final twenty minutes of play, desperation brought the game's intensity to a new level. An exchange between North Star David Durbeniuk and Flyer Dylan Ryan led to a pair of minor penalties.

    With the clock ticking, Flyer behemoth Philip Gervais rose to the pressure, feeding forward Corey Allen with a scant 4:09 remaining.

    Just over a minute later, careless stickwork on the part of Flyer Nicholas Scott would lead to an ill-timed penalty for the team. Sensing blood, the hot trio of Tyler Eskesen, Nicholas Navratil and Steven Murray pounced 13 seconds into the man-advantage. Navratil buried his chance, pulling the Stars ahead 3-2.

    The Calgary Northeast Flyers could do nothing but watch- and in Gervais' case, earn a trip to the box at 18:39 for goaltender interference- as the game and the Alberta Cup finals went into the books.

    To be sure, there was disappointment on the side of the Flyers, unmatched elation for the Stars. That much was to be expected. But long after their medals have rusted or been lost, long after the sting or happiness of the outcome has died, there will be something else that neither team will ever forget. That something else is knowing that they gave their best. That something else is pride in themselves, and what they can accomplish. That something else may yet lead these young men to become our newest generation of Canadian hero.
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2005
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