It wouldn’t be a winter weekend in Nakusp without a hockey game, and the weekend of Dec. 17 was no exception as residents gathered at the Nakusp and District Sports Complex for the fifth annual Falcons Cup.
The cup is a fundraiser for the Minor Hockey Association of Nakusp. All funds raised over the two-day event, from the concession stand, the raffle table, even the beer garden, goes toward helping minor hockey in the area.
There is no age limit when it comes to playing in the tournament, but players must be out of high school if they want to take part.
Despite the good turnout, there were some difficulties in organizing the cup this year. Because of the timing of the tournament, many of the regular players for the cup weren’t able to make it.
“It’s hard when it’s a full week before Christmas, but we managed to get four teams,” said Zac Wethal, one of the organizers of the event. “Next year we’re hoping to do it Dec. 30 and 31, and tie it into a New Year’s Eve thing too. We’re hoping that will work to bring in a bunch more players, and we’ll go from there.”
Watching the games, it was hard to miss certain players, as they wore bright pink socks, which sometimes clashed with the colour of the jerseys. If a player was wearing these socks, it meant he was on the team that took last place in the precious cup.
Many of those taking part in the cup have been doing so since it started. For them, it’s the only chance they get to play in a game anymore.
Dylan Hascarl is one of those players. For him, it’s not just about the game, but getting the chance to spend time with people he grew up with.
“This is the only time half the people who play come back to hang out,” he said. “You go out with people, and you get to see familiar faces. There are lots of people that don’t come back until Christmas and this tournament.”
Throughout the weekend four teams played against each other until the top two emerged to go head-to-head in the final. This year it was team Grey and team Green.
It was a constant back-and-forth between the two teams to see which one would come out on top.
In the end, team Grey prevailed with a score of 3-2, despite team Green pulling their goalie in the last minute of the game to get an extra player on the ice.
For some, the Falcons Cup is a way of getting younger residents interested in the game of hockey. Others see it as a great way to support a local group. No matter the reason, those who attended the cup had a great time and look forward to next year’s tournament.