The stands were packed as the final game of the Midget hockey playoffs, hosted in Squamish, hit the ice.
The home team, made up of Squamish and Whistler players, hustled to score a goal agains the visiting team from Mission, but to no avail. In the end, the scoreboard read 2-0 for Mission — despite Squamish’s 45 shots on goal to Mission’s 15.
“Squamish actually outshot them but the Mission goalie was amazing. It was a great game to watch,” Emma Moses, the president of the Squamish Minor Hockey Association, said.
When the playoffs began on Friday, March 1, Mission was off to a good start, winning 7-0 against West Vancouver. On Friday, the Squamish-Whistler team won 6-2 against the Sunshine Coast.
Saturday saw another shutout for Mission with 6-0 against Sunshine Coast. Meanwhile, Squamish-Whistler scored 5-3 on West Vancouver.
On the home team, Jake Heppell scored three goals, and Avery Hargitt was the scorer behind two goals.
The Sunshine Coast versus West Vancouver game was cancelled.
Off the ice, Moses said, is often just as important as what happens on it.
“For a lot of the Squamish boys on the team, that game was their last game that they will play in Squamish. The ones that are graduating, they’ve been playing for 13 years with Squamish Minor Hockey, since kindergarten. It’s quite a milestone for those boys,” she said.
Moses added that it’s a touching moment for their families too, who have spent countless hours in cold arenas, selling and buying 50/50 tickets and cheering on their players.
For them it’s been more than a game. “Seeing those boys not only graduate and leave Squamish, but all the community events they’ve been a part of, hockey being a really significant one,” Moses said.