#94 Ryan Smyth of the Edmonton Oilers, who switched allegiance to Team Red during the Aug. 8 annual Pro-Am game at Shaw Centre, shakes hands after the game with Team Blue's #4 Cody Franson of the Toronto Maple Leags and #52 Aaron Volpatti of the Vancouver Canucks. Martha Wickett photo.

#94 Ryan Smyth of the Edmonton Oilers, who switched allegiance to Team Red during the Aug. 8 annual Pro-Am game at Shaw Centre, shakes hands after the game with Team Blue's #4 Cody Franson of the Toronto Maple Leags and #52 Aaron Volpatti of the Vancouver Canucks. Martha Wickett photo.

Pro-Am game frosting on Franson’s birthday cake

Cody and Cain Franson among high-calibre hockey talent at Pro-Am Scholarship Game.

Salmon Arm’s Ninth Annual Pro-Am Scholarship Game provided a happy birthday present for Sicamous’ Cody Franson.

At the end of regulation time in the game that featured an evenly matched mix of NHL, WHL, American Hockey League and SilverBack players on teams Red and Blue, the high-scoring contest was tied eight apiece. Following a short three-minute overtime the scoreboard hadn’t budged.

Then came the shootout. Just one player of the 10 was able to bury one in the back of the net – Cody Franson for Team Blue. Franson’s sister made sure earlier in the game that the announcer spread the word about her brother’s birthday.

The game was something of a family affair. Joining Cody on the ice but with a red jersey was brother Cain Franson from the Vancouver Giants. Twins Jeff and Brendan Kennedy, both SilverBacks, were on opposing teams. Salmon Arm’s Carson Bolduc with the Prince George Cougars donned a blue jersey while brother Tyler Bolduc from the Revelstoke Grizzlies wore red. Then there was former SilverBack netminder Kris Moore, now with the Western Michigan Broncos, on Team Blue versus his brother, Team Red’s Mike Moore, now with the San Jose Sharks.

Although the stands contained no more than about 350 spectators, it was a great game to watch. A fan favourite was Captain Canada – Ryan Smyth from the Edmonton Oilers – who wore a red jersey. Smith earned his nickname by representing Canada many times in international competition. He was captain of Canada’s World Championship team for a record number of years, winning gold in the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, Utah, gold at the 2003 World Championship in Finland, at the 2004 World Championship in the Czech Republic, at the 2004 World Cup in Canada and silver in the 2005 World Championship in Austria.

Smith is outstanding in other ways as he prepares to lead the Oilers’ young players this season. Now 36, he has worn the same shoulder pads – with a few replacement parts – since his start in the NHL about 15 years ago. He also takes a lot of ribbing for the hockey stick with a heavy wooden blade he prefers to use.

Other NHLers who joined Cody Franson and Ryan Smyth on the ice during the game that featured lots of laughing and light-hearted banter were Vancouver Canuck Aaron Volpatti from Revelstoke, Jerred Smithson with the Florida Panthers, Winnipeg Jets’ centre Aaron Gagnon from Armstrong and Mike Moore, recently relocated from the San Jose Sharks to the Nashville Predators.

It was a see-saw battle, with the gap between teams never more than two goals. Scoring first was Salmon Arm’s Shane Danyluk of the Prince Albert Raiders, assisted by Riley Marsh of the NAIT Ooks.

First for Team Blue was Carson Bolduc, with assists going to TJ Christensen of the Revelstoke Grizzlies and Cody Franson.

Making it 2-1 for Team Red was Salmon Arm’s Lucas Nickles with the Tri City Americans, assisted by Marsh and Danyluk. Cain Franson, with help from Smyth, added another for Team Red – the only two-point gap in the game.

Dylan Willick with the Kamloops Blazers, unassisted, brought Team Blue within a point of the red squad, ending the period in a 3-2 score.

Team Blue continued its push in the second, with Stewart Coyle of the Sicamous Eagles tying things up with help from Chad Hohman of York University and Marsh. Grabbing the lead for Team Blue was Nathan Grieve of the Eagles assisted by Christensen.

The lead was short-lived, however, as Cain Franson evened it up, 4-4, with the assist going to Smithson.

In return, Willick notched his second of the night with help from Volpatti to give Team Blue a 5-4.

Team Red’s Smyth tied it up with help from Danyluk, but Volpatti quickly claimed a 6-5 lead for Blue to end the period. Credited with assists were Ian McNally of Princeton University and Gagnon.

Team Red pulled ahead 7-6, thanks to a goal from Tyler Bolduc with assists going to  Mike Moore and Cain Franson, and another goal, this one from Danyluk assisted by Aidan Nisse of the Sicamous Eagles.

Then it was Team Blue’s turn, pulling ahead 8-7 with a second goal for Grieve assisted by Carson Bolduc, and one from Chad Hohman of York University with help from Willick.

In fitting fashion for the man with close to two decades wearing an NHL jersey, it was Smyth, unassisted, who, in the final minutes of regulation time, kept Team Red alive.

Coaches for the evening were Ty Davidson and Ryan Marsh.

 

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