The players being honoured were St. Albert Raiders hockey alumni. Each of the four teams was named after one of the players: the tournament kicked off with Team Wack, in honour of Stephen Wack, and Team Hunter, in honour of Logan Hunter, playing each other.
Also joining the tournament was Team Joseph, in honour of Jaxon Joseph, and Team Lukan, in honour of Conner Lukan.
Josh Dechaine, one of the co-organizers for the event, as well as a goaltender for team Wack, made it clear what the tournament was for with his speech before the commencement of the first game.
“Let’s create more memories together this weekend knowing that our four boys will be here enjoying the laughs, hockey hugs and smiles with us,” said Dechaine. “Logan Hunter, Jaxon Joseph, Stephen Wack and Conner Lukan, we all miss you dearly, and this weekend we all play for you guys.”
To say that this game was the beginning of a friendly, emotional and supportive tournament would be an understatement.
Instead of each individual player’s last name, adorning the back of every jersey was the nickname of one of the players being honoured. “Wacker” was the name chosen for the yellow team, and “Hunts” was selected for the green team – both jerseys displaying the Humboldt Broncos logo.
In addition, the scoreboards displayed the names “Team Logs” and “Team Wack”.
Instead of penalties, penalty shots would be taken, and instead of hockey fights, playful shoves and smiles were visible even from the stands.
When a goal was scored, laughs and hollers could be heard from both benches as spectators and players made it clear that the focus wasn’t on who won, but on everybody coming together to support each other.
Team Wack took the first game with a final score of 8-1, before going on to win the tournament on Sunday night.