Sports

Peewees win, sportsmanship reigns

Gavin Fleck of the Vernon Vipers peewees takes a shot on Nanaimo Clippers netminder Campbell Arnold in the Coca-Cola Classic Peewee Hockey Tournament last Friday at Vernon’s Civic Arena. - LISA VANDERVELDE/Black Press
Gavin Fleck of the Vernon Vipers peewees takes a shot on Nanaimo Clippers netminder Campbell Arnold in the Coca-Cola Classic Peewee Hockey Tournament last Friday at Vernon’s Civic Arena.
— image credit: LISA VANDERVELDE/Black Press

The Nanaimo Clippers peewees won, and so did all of minor sport.

The city’s Tier 1 peewee rep hockey team won the C final at the Coca-Cola Classic tournament in Vernon last week, edging the Prince George Cougars 3-2 in double overtime.

Liam Moody scored the winning goal late in double OT and Brandon Rogers had the other two Nanaimo goals.

It was an exciting win, but that’s not all that happened on the ice surface that day.

The win was controversial because the timekeeper failed to turn on the clock with seven and a half seconds remaining. The Clippers skated down for the winner and the referee and tourney officials ultimately ruled there would have been enough time for the goal.

Prince George coaches berated officials before leaving the ice, refusing to shake hands or receive their runner-up trophies.

But Matthew Marotta of the Cougars stayed on the ice, kneeling down on the blueline while Nanaimo players received their hardware, and then shaking their hands.

“The crowd all stood and praised him loud. The Nanaimo team all rushed over to him with taps on the head and cheers for his courage,” wrote Carol Purves, a hockey fan from Kelowna, in a letter sent to the Nanaimo Minor Hockey Association.

Marotta’s move has sparked hundreds of comments and likes on Facebook.

The peewee Clippers, upon their return to Vancouver Island, blew away the Cowichan Valley Capitals 11-2 this past Saturday in Game 1 of the Island final in Duncan before losing Game 2 by a 9-3 score at Frank Crane Arena the next day. The rubber match is Sunday (March 2) at Duncan’s Island Savings Centre.

-files from Kevin Mitchell

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