It was a Christmas present like no other.
Gregg Patterson, coach of the Dr. Chris Main Novice Silver Speedsters hockey team, told the team after their last game before Christmas that they’d won a contest sponsored by the Canucks Centre for BC Hockey.
They would be heading to Vancouver on April 1, where they’d watch the Canucks game as well as get to play a three-minute hockey game during the first intermission.
The team has just returned from their whirlwind trip, where they saw the Canucks take on – unsuccessfully – the New York Rangers. But that couldn’t have mattered less to the young fans.
Team member Wyatt O’Brien loved getting to see the game and playing on the ice.
“It was the biggest arena I’ve ever been in and it was really fun.”
He also liked watching the Canucks do their warm-up, during which they played soccer near the dressing room.
Meeting Fin the mascot was also a highlight.
“He was nice; he gave me a hockey card.”
Lucas Patterson calls the whole experience really cool.
“I liked going on
the ice during the intermission – and Fin, the mascot, giving me a drink.”
Lucas is a goalie, so Fin the whale kindly sprayed water through his mask for him.
He also liked playing with all the people in the stands watching.
“It was all exciting.”
For Nathan Mayes, the best parts were going on the ice and then watching the game afterwards.
“Just getting the puck and stuff, having fun.”
He, too, liked meeting Fin.
Gregg Patterson was just as pleased as the young players.
“It was great. It was all very professional, they treated us really great. It was quite an experience. A lot of the kids, it was their first NHL game. It was fun for them and fun for their parents. It was an amazing experience for everybody.”
The highlight for him?
“We got to walk over and stand at the Canucks bench and watch. Just watching your kid out there in front of 18,000 people is pretty amazing.”