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Jan. 20, 2021 | Wednesday
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Wallbangers: Two major hockey games played a world apart
Wallbangers Red Team goalie Rob Vanderperk lost a friendly bet with Dave and Mark Shantz early Sunday morning. At Silk’s Country Kitchen after the game, Rob bought them a hearty breakfast to settle up. The father, son and goalie host. (Supplied)

Ross Robinson
(#9, Blue Team)

Special to The Lake Report

Sunday was another great day for hockey. Early in the morning in Virgil, Ont., and early in the evening in Ostrava, Czech Republic, two hockey games were decided by heart and luck, as well as skill and fitness levels. When played properly, hockey is a magnificent game that can be enjoyed by players of all ages and skill levels.

Virgil is a small town in the agricultural Niagara region, home to the town hall for Niagara-on-the-Lake. Ostrava is the industrialized capital city of the Moravian-Silesian region, 275 kilometres east of Prague and only 15 kilometres from the border with Poland.

At about 7:10 a.m. in the Meridian Credit Union Arena, the Wallbanger Blue and Red Teams faced off, with players aged 15 to 82. Wallbanger traditions continued under the watchful eyes of Commissioner Bill Dickson. There were three father and son pairs out. As ever, no referees, ensuring a penalty-free and fairly clean contest. The laws of the jungle have prevailed for some 36 years now, and only rarely are angry words exchanged. 

It was good to have Evan McCaughey on the ice with us, back from the disabled list. His shiny new helmet and full face mask seemed to fit, and he is definitely a Top 3 defenceman. His Red Team teammate Terry Nord, and Blue Team’s J. R. Lewis, the pride of Petit Rocher, on the north shore of New Brunswick, are two prototype Top 6 forwards. These two athletes battled hard, each of them winning about half of the puck battles. 

J. R. tallied twice, and his second marker was a true bewdy, eh? Roofed it past Red team goalie Rob Vanderperk, top shelf, where Momma keeps the peanut butter, socks and underwear, knocked the water bottle off the net, all that…

Blue Team defenceman Josh Wiwcharyk, always an offensive threat, seemed to be in a creative mood, successfully completing several Savardian Spinneramas on his zone entries. Danny Gallivan, the legendary English voice of the Montreal Canadiens, would have loved it.

The Red Team is hoping Pete Vanderperk returns soon. He has missed about four games, after banging his little toe on a coffee table during the festive season.

It seems that talented golfers are also fine hockey players. Wallbanger players include NOTL Golf Club men’s champion Joe Doria, and Sean Simpson, who played in the final foursome last summer. Also, assistant club professional Ricky Watson is a fast and creative skater. One of his golf highlights last summer was being a key member of the winning foursome at the Chautauqua Open.

Perhaps Ricky should bring his golf mentor Doug Garrett out for Wallbanger hockey.

Traded for the game to Red Team, to even up the sides, Phil Torrel had a hat trick. One of his goals deflected off his chest after a high shot from captain Carl Glauser, but hey, a goal is a goal. There were no fans to throw hats on the ice, but we remember. No hats, but Phil was treated to a cold and frothy Oast House Barnraiser beer later in the day, during the World Junior Hockey gold medal game.

Oh yes, who won the Wallbangers game that morning? I can’t remember, but I do know there were no losers. The game is the thing.

Please join me in congratulating Canada’s junior hockey team on their first place result in Ostrava.

We are so fortunate to live in Canada … in 2020.