Emotional Winter Classic Just Part of a Busy Stretch for Ice Hockey

The action on the ice took a back seat at the Canadian Sport School Hockey League’s first-ever outdoor ice hockey game.
Shawnigan’s U17 Prep boys’ team squared off with Coeur d’Alene Hockey Academy in the open-air arena at Sun Peaks on January 6, and while it was a league game with points in the standings at stake, the results were secondary to the game’s other purpose — as a fundraiser for Hockey Fights Cancer.
“Hockey was incidental,” Shawnigan U17 head coach Mr. Jeff Compton commented.
The idea to use the game as a fundraiser came from Shawnigan defenceman Carson U., whose father is battling glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer. Carson took on the fundraiser as his Soul Seeking project — a year-long, student-led, interdisciplinary project that each student at Shawnigan takes on. The fundraiser ended up raising $15,500 for the Canadian Cancer Society — transcending Carson’s original goal of $2,500 — and an additional $1,500 for the American Cancer Society. As Mr. Compton points out, the project reflects Shawnigan’s core values of Curiosity, Compassion, Community, and Courage.
Carson’s father is one of two parents of U17 team players who are battling cancer, but everyone on the team is impacted, regardless of if they have a direct connection to the disease.
“The bottom line is we’re all affected,” Mr. Compton said, “whether it’s someone in our family or through a teammate or someone else.”
Both the fundraiser and the game itself received tremendous support from the U17 Prep hockey community, as nearly all of the Shawnigan players had family members in attendance at Sun Peaks. The CSSHL and the Municipality of Sun Peaks also backed the event, with league president Kevin Goodwin giving a presentation to the Shawnigan team prior to the game, and Sun Peaks Mayor Al Raine dropping the puck for a ceremonial faceoff.
Jojo Tanaka-Campbell ’19 (Ripley’s), one of the most accomplished products of Shawnigan’s hockey program, now playing NCAA Div. 1 hockey for Yale University, delivered a pre-game speech to the team, and players Keegan L. and Luke V. led the national anthem.
“Between the outdoor game and the fundraiser, it’s something the guys will remember forever,” Mr. Compton said.

There is still time to support the fundraiser. Donate here to help support the cause.

Shawnigan’s other two boys' teams were also busy during the holiday break as the U18 Prep boys’ team reached the semifinals of the prestigious Circle K Classic in Calgary, and the U15 Prep boys’ team took silver at the Pat Quinn Classic in Burnaby.
Formerly known as the Mac’s U18 AAA Tournament, the Circle K Classic is one of the top tournaments in the world for the U18 age group, and Shawnigan reached the final four out of a field of 32 teams. Shawnigan breezed through round-robin play with wins over the Phoenix Junior Coyotes, Calgary Royals and Okanagan Rockets, outscoring their opponents 15-5, then edged the Saskatoon Contacts 4-3 in the quarter-finals. The team’s only loss came in the semifinals, as they fell 6-1 to the Calgary Buffaloes, with some key players missing from the lineup.

Defenceman Conor R. was named the tournament’s Top Defenceman and joined forward Dallas E. on the First All-Star Team. Conor almost missed the first game of the tournament when his gear failed to arrive in Calgary. Fortunately, Jon M. from RINK Hockey Academy Kelowna came to the rescue by offering Conor his full set of gear in a remarkable display of sportsmanship.
The U15 Prep boys’ team made it all the way to the gold-medal game in the Integrated Elite division at the Pat Quinn Classic before falling 6-3 to their CSSHL rivals from Burnaby Winter Club. Shawnigan’s lone defeat in the round robin also came against BWC, while they earned wins over the Wenatchee Wolverines, Cariboo Cougars and Sno-King Thunderbirds, and tied the San Jose Junior Sharks. Eli M. led the team with seven goals and 11 points in six games, and tied Nigel A. and Eric W. for the team lead with four assists.
Not to be forgotten, Morgan J. from the U18 Prep girls’ team is in Sweden with Team Canada for the U18 Women’s World Hockey Championship, which runs from January 8-15. Canada won its first three round-robin games and will play Finland in the semifinals on Saturday, January 14 at 11 a.m. PST. A win on Saturday will guarantee a gold or silver medal for Canada. Morgan is the first active Shawnigan athlete to be named to a Canadian national ice hockey team.
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