Well ladies and gentleman, it looks like the Novice Cougars’ (Chris) season has come to and abrupt and anticlimactic end.
The boys put together an amazing season, but sadly for the nine of them COVID-19 had plans to shut down the great season just a day before the championship game.
The season started way back in October and the Cougars played consistently top notch right into March. They finished 9-1 in the regular season, won three of the four tourneys they entered and cruised through their half of the playoff bracket, but this year the league trophy will read Corona2020.
Even though there will be no banner hanging from the rafters, all these players can finally wash their gear, store it for the summer knowing they left it all out on the ice and that they left a lot of fans, parents and grandparents, with a ton of memories that could put a smile on even the most stoic of faces.
From Owen "Top Cheese" Light scoring highlight reel goals on a daily basis, all the while making them look like he could pull them off in his sleep, or Nash "The Flash" Faber defying logic and somehow getting faster every time he stepped out on the ice. Only comparable to a bullet, somehow getting faster mid-shot.
Hayden "Hands and Hair" Puskas pulling off dangles that had most opponents tied in knots, just like his favourite player, Flames’ Johnny Hockey.
Griffin "Coast to Coast" Eaton somehow managed to cover the whole defensive zone, and still put up great offensive numbers. This, mixed with his dressing room antics, left most people speechless.
Brody "Crash the Crease" Knelsen really came out of his shell as he found out that taking penalties was almost as much fun as scoring goals and usually left his grandma shaking her head, but I could tell she was smiling on the inside.
Keenan "Sharknado" Winkler was a firecracker all year and his patented fist pump with one leg in the air after all his goals had everyone grinning from ear to ear.
Reed "The Rifle" Coffey playing in his first year of hockey managed his first penalty, goals, assists, and even showed Coach Joey he could take a hit, even if it was a door doing the hitting.
Xander "The Postman" Brown managed to score a goal he didn't realize he scored and even tried his hand at motivational coaching, which started the charge for a comeback must win game.
And last but not least, Nik "Brickwall" Brown was the last line of defence and had an amazing first season as a full time goalie. If he wasn't stopping pucks, he was quick with some head scratching comments, or trying to bribe me to hype him up in the paper.
And let’s not forget the coaches. Coach Chris Light, who put in countless hours of prep time for games and practices and from my understanding, only swore a few times.
Coach Jeff Faber, who never missed a game and managed to hold back laughter until it was appropriate to let it out and Coach Joey Eaton, who could get a smile from every kid, regardless of their moods and was always ready to squirt water in your face if you got too upset. (No one drowned, but it looked close on a few occasions).
Also a special thank you to everyone behind the scenes that made the season a huge success and a treat to be a part of. And thanks to the Observer for printing all these write-ups even when they got a bit long winded.
It took a worldwide pandemic to shut these boys down and I’m surprised even that did it. These boys deserve a huge pat on the back and a big round of applause for everything they accomplished this year.
You're all champions to me and I’m sure all your fans would say the same thing. See everyone next year and stay safe out there.