Snow Flurries in the AM, a Flurry of Goals in the PM.
By Shane Tomayer
A picturesque December day was enjoyed in Lloydminster. Flurries thickened the blanket covering the ground. The sun was shining. It had all the makings of the perfect day for gathering friends and heading to the frozen pond for a game of shinny. The Bobcats however would have no time for shinny. They’ve had this date marked on the calendar for some time.
Sunday afternoon against the Olds Grizzlys has been pegged as the Bob Troup Tribute Game. A game in which the Lloydminster Bobcats and the community around them would pay homage to Bob Troup. Trouper was a member of the organization for as long as anyone can recall, and he passed away suddenly May 15th of this year. To start of the game there was a special ceremony where a banner was unveiled at the East end of the arena commemorating Bob’s legacy. His wife of 50 years and his son spoke prior to a ceremonial puck drop with Vern Curtis – who worked the penalty box with Trouper at the Civic centre for longer than any current Bobcat has been alive. Festivities for the afternoon affair included a guaranteed 50/50 sponsored by KFC Lloydminster, a team autograph session after the game, & free tickets supplied by Boundary Ford. On ice was an annual staple in hockey arenas across the map, the teddy bear toss, meaning after the first Bobcat goal on the afternoon fans would hurl stuffed animals into the air to cover the civic centre ice, and to be donated to local charities.
Nigel Dube talked about the weight of the day, “We had a chat on Friday about what the day meant to the Troup family and the organization, many players knew Bob very well and it was an emotional discussion. They played for him tonight and it showed in every way.” That they did Nigel. That they did.
The teddy bear toss can be a funny thing. Always the anticipation of when will the goal come, who will score, how many stuffies would fall from the rafters of the CCC? Well those questions would be answered quickly. It would happen 15 seconds in, on a wrist shot from Andon Coles, and a bunch. A whole bunch of stuffies would litter the ice. The goal was the first of Coles’ AJHL career, typically memorable on its own when it makes the ice surface look like a toy store, it’s all the more memorable. On the goal coach Dube commented, “It’s a goal you remember forever as a player. What better way for it to be his first in the AJHL and only 15 seconds in. People were still rushing in just so they could throw them. He will remember that one”.
This quick goal on the first Cats shot of the game would launch an incredibly dominant performance for the home side. After the first period the Cats had taken 27 shots and scored 5 times. That’s a tone setting period at any level. The second period was more of the same with 16 more Bobcat shots and two more goals, a performance they’d repeat in the third period. Full credit to Olds for not simply going into hibernation and pushing in the game. The Cats were stifling all game long and didn’t allow much opportunity in their own end, and with 59 shots in their favour it’s very easy to see where the bulk of the game was played.
With a 9-5 final and 14 penalties (combined) the scoresheet was beyond full. On the Cats side Stewart led the offence with a pair of assists matched with a pair of goals, Aucoin scored a hat trick, and Fincaryk had 3 assists. 9 players in total had multi-point games for the home side.
Attendance was strong in the matinee as it was assumed it would be. Generally Sunday afternoon games will see a lower attendance for a number of reasons. This afternoon game however was different, with 611 fans in attendance to take in all the festivities, and to pay respect one more time to someone who gave so much to the organization and the community. On the turnout Dube stated, “I think the turn out today puts an exclamation point behind what Bob meant to our community. The support, fans and emotion in the Civic today was all around special. Probably the biggest turn out we’ve seen in years and very fitting for everyone to be there in paying tribute to Trouper.”
Cats next action will come Wednesday at 7:30 when they will host the Sherwood Park Crusaders in the Cats last home action prior to the Christmas break.