Nakusp Falcon Atoms fight to the finish

The traditional hand shake after the game.            - Photo courtesy Teresa Zanier
The traditional hand shake after the game.
— image credit: Photo courtesy Teresa Zanier

The Nakusp arena was buzzing with action this past weekend hosting the “ATOMic Hockey Tournament 2013.” It was a busy weekend for hockey in Nakusp not only for the players, but for the parents, volunteers, referees and arena staff alike.

The games with the biggest attendance were our Falcon Atoms who played their first game on Friday night with on the edge action right to the last seconds, ending up in a loss of 7-6 to the Salmon Arm Infernos. Aidan Hascarl took the Hustler of the Game award for his hard work and never-give-up attitude throughout the entire game.

On Saturday for the first game the Nakusp Atoms took on The Grand Forks Bruins with a loss of 8-3. Even though both teams have a short bench with minimal players, they both played hard and in the end the Bruins were the toughest team to beat as they took first for the whole tournament. Devon Coates, one of our future NHLers, hustled throughout the game earning him the Hustler of the Game award.

Saturday evening our home team was matched up against the Vernon Ice Rockets. A great team with a bench overflowing with players eager to hit the ice. A disappointing loss for Nakusp of 14-2 was chalked up on the score board. Our kids skated hard with shifts lasting sometimes as long as three minutes.

Unfortunately, our Atoms have very few players and with two out injured, it’s even more difficult for the kids to keep up the level of energy needed to slam the visitors goalie with shots. Noticeably though, Darian Smith skated her heart out along with the rest of the players which gave her the Hustler of the Game award for the third game of the weekend.

Rising early on Sunday morning, our Atoms faced the Kaslo Winterhawks at 7:30 a.m. for the play-offs. Even though it seemed it was only the break of dawn, our kids came out onto the ice with a flurry of energy and smiles, great spirit and a determination to win against our arch rivals from the edge of Kootenay Lake.

Passing, forechecking and team guidance by our stellar coaching staff led the kids to a huge win of 11-3.  It may have been their only win of the weekend, but it was as if they had won the Stanley Cup. Lucas Robins moved like Ryan Kessler on the ice and skated over with a huge smile to accept the award for Hustler of the Game.

The final game was played at 1:30 p.m., pitting the Vernon Ice Rockets and Grand Forks Bruins against each other, with the Grand Forks Bruins squeezing in the win. These two teams were equally matched with skill and determination.

Our town hosted seven teams for our home tournament including the Grand Forks Bruins, Salmon Arm Infernos, Kaslo Winterhawks, North Okanagan Knights, Vernon Ice Rockets, Vernon Demons and the Kamloops Oilers. The parents of the Nakusp Atoms pulled this tournament off without a hitch hosting a huge raffle table which included prizes of a TV/DVD player and a mini iPad. Donated gifts from local businesses (Shaggyz, Grizzly Contracting, Scot Norseman Enterprises, H & R Block and Whatshan Guides and Outfitters) were above and beyond. The concession had its regular menu fair as well as homemade borscht and hamburger soup to tantalize your taste buds.

The flurry of activity was undeniable this past weekend in Nakusp and a huge thank you goes out to our fans for the support to Minor Hockey, you are part of what keeps the sport alive here in Nakusp.


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