The stars of the VIJHL put on a show at Rod Brind’Amour Arena on Sunday afternoon as Campbell River played host to the VIJHL All-Star Game. The game was spotlighted by incredible goals, spectacular saves, penalty shots and some interesting calls, and the fans had a blast.
Tanner Tiel led the way with four assists for the South, Mateo Albinati scored twice and added a helper on the way to a 10-7 South victory.
On the North side, Darian Harris, Landon Dziadyk and Campbell River’s leading scorer this season Michael Dyck tallied three points each.
The six goaltenders really should be commended for their efforts as, like most All-Star games, this wasn’t a well defended event. Jake Sweet, Owen Sikkes, Rett Rook, Matthias Smith, Charles-Oliver LePage and Campbell River’s Aaron de Kok made some incredible stops.
But the game wasn’t really about the scoreboard. The players for both teams were clearly having fun, trying out their best dekes and spin-o-ramas and attempting passes to teammates that they would obviously never attempt in a regular season game. There were many more smiles and much more laughter – on the benches and the ice – than would normally be present during a junior hockey game.
And it seemed like everyone in the Brindy was enjoying themselves, as well, including the officials. A case in point was when big Mateo Albinati inadvertently knocked down the referee; he brushed himself off, got up, smiled and raised his arm in the air. Albs went to the box for interference and the fans loved every minute of it.
Putting their normal competitive differences aside for a day, the stars of the league enjoy themselves and mingle with each other on the ice after the game. There were lots memories generated and some great reunions like the Cougars’ Owen Sikkes and the Storms’ Damon Kramer who won the Cyclone Taylor Cup back in 2017 with the KIJHL Beaver Valley Nitehawks.
The Campbell River Storm should be applauded for once again hosting the return of a classic – last year they hosted the return of the Prospects game – filling the stands and bringing in some impressive uniforms.
Many likely came out to see the hometown players who were named to the team earlier this month.
Campbell River was well-represented in the game with four defencemen (Captain Cole Slaney, Kyle Jennings, Logan Cursley and Scott Rademaker) and four forwards (Mike Dyck, Damon Porter, Damon Kramer and Reid Wheeldon) named as VIJHL All-Stars this year, along with goaltender Aaron de Kok.
Next weekend will see even more Storm players playing with the best of the best, as Davis Frank, Noah Fladager, Josh Pederson, Owen Christensen, Jackson Dyke and Tyler Chyzowski will head down to Saanich – along with de Kok and Jennings – on Sunday for the Prospects Game, which features the league’s top 16-18 year-old players.
–With files by Mark Berry