The effects of the Ukranian invasion are being felt all the way to the Lower Mainland where show of solidarity and support from a competitor team during a playoff match was witnessed by spectators.
On March 5, during the Pacific Coast Amateur Hockey Association Final 4 playoffs, Ridge Meadows Minor Hockey Association’s (RMMHA) U11 A1 Rustlers played Semiahmoo Minor Hockey’s A1 Ravens. Before the match, the teams found out that one of the athletes, Dmytro Makogonsky, of the Semiahmoo A1 team still has family in Ukraine. Moved by this, both teams decided to play the Ukrainian National Anthem before the game.
U11 A1 Final Four Game 2 Semiahmoo 6 Ridge Meadows 1. Semiahmoo will play BWC at 3:45 today for the U11 Championship. Class act by @RustlersHockey as they joined us in playing Ukrainian National Anthem for Dmytro Makogonsky our Ukrainian goalie. pic.twitter.com/aBzgAb9aBZ— Semiahmoo U11 A1 (@SemiAtomA1) March 6, 2022
“This game is about more than just hockey, it’s about life lessons and making good people,” said the Ridge Meadows Minor Hockey Association.
“RustlersHockey are nothing but first class, this weekend was more than just hockey. We made some great new friendships!” said a Tweet from the Semiahmoo U11 A1 team.
The game was part of the Hockey Canada playoff games and BC Hockey championship games and the Rustlers made it to the InterConference i.e. the Super Tier final 4 after a game 4 series win against Coquitlam.
They finished off their season tied for third place with North Shore Winter Club (NSWC), after a hard fought game ending in a 6-6 score, said Dale Lupul, the U11 A1 coach.
“The highlight of the weekend was our standing in solidarity with Semiahmoo. We were informed by their team manager that they had a player that had family members stuck in Ukraine and was going through some tough times,” said Lupul.
So, after the anthem, Rustlers lined up behind their captain, Connor Baines, presented a card filled with love and then each Rustler skated by and tapped the athlete in a show of support.
”The sportsmanship displayed was much bigger than the game of hockey. It was a special moment for everyone involved,” said Lupul.
The vice president of the A hockey group, Peter Mandoli said that he wasn’t surprised by this action and was very proud of the Rustlers.
”Our U11 A1 team is lucky to have such incredible leadership from their coaching team of Dale Lupul, Tom Willard, Jeffrey White and Graeme Hobbs. This is a special group of kids & parents who are competitive but understand that hockey offers us a lot more than wins & losses,” he said.
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