Passion and talent meets experience and sportsmanship.
That described School District 57’s (SD57) annual Spirit Day hockey game today (Dec. 20) at the CN Centre between Prince George and College Heights secondary schools.
The Cougars, however, were once again the dominant team in winning by a score of 5-1 over the Polars and hoisting the trophy for a third consecutive year.
CHSS Head Coach Craig Horswell credits his team’s dedication to the sport as well as their excitement for representing their school in this inner-district spectacle.
“It’s an awesome event and that’s what we kind of push the players right from try-outs and practice right up to the game today,” he said in an interview with PrinceGeorgeMatters.
“It’s just an enjoyable experience and this is nice for the players because they can end before the break feeling good about themselves.”
.@CHSSCougars three-peat as champions of the annual SD57 Spirit Hockey Game 🏆 They kick off the holiday break with a 5-1 victory over @PGSS_Polars as Captain Bryce Blackman accepts the trophy | #CityOfPG @SD57PG @PGMatters pic.twitter.com/jtwpTCD0PS— Kyle Balzer (@KyleBalzer) December 20, 2019
This was the 17th annual Spirit Game for SD57, which has spearheaded not only the rivalry between CHSS and PGSS, but good comradery among local hockey players and students as well.
“We talk about the experience and tradition and its kind of grown bigger than itself,” said Horswell.
“Our guys start talking about the Spirit Game in September as soon as they get back from the [summer] holidays. It’s on their mind all the time and they’re asking, you know, when try-outs start and so it means a ton to the players. You can feel the atmosphere amongst the young ones, it’s turned into an awesome rivalry and then everybody gets along, so this is a great event.”
College Heights had five different goal-scorers in the contest, but it was Cole Ewen with the lone multi-point afternoon, scoring one goal and adding an assist.
Prince George Polar and Cariboo Minor Midget Cougar Decker Mujcin got the first tally of the 2019 Spirit Day hockey game early in the first period.
CHSS Captain Bryce Blackman evened the scoreboard not far after for the 1-1 tie going into the first intermission.
Zack Fillion potted the game-winning goal in the second stanza with helpers from Noah Loog and Jerome Erickson, which pulled Prince George’s starting goaltender Tessa Sturgeon after making eight saves on 10 shots.
Daniel Sturgeon took her place between the pipes and stood strong despite facing only three shots before the end of the frame
In the final 20 minutes, the Cougars scored three goals to pull away for the 5-1 victory, including markers from James Kitney, the insurance man, Ewen and Jacob Ross, who sealed the deal with an unassisted empty-netter.
Dawson Wickstrom was the championship goaltender this year for College Heights, making eight saves on nine shots.
Roughly 10 elementary schools joined CHSS and PGSS students in attending the Spirit Day game.
New SD57 Superintendent Anita Richardson presented the trophy to the Cougars alongside College Heights Principal Randy Halpape and Prince George Secondary Principal Kap Manhas.