Saturday night's Thunder Challenge game brought fans to the edge of their seats, as the Calgary Hitmen and the Lethbridge Hurricanes fought for victory in a game that resulted in a 3-2 win for the Hurricanes.
Pass Herald Reporter
The fourth annual Thunder Challenge kicked off on Friday, September 14th at the Crowsnest Sports Complex in Coleman with an action packed game between the Lethbridge Hurricanes and Kootenay Ice, setting the tone for a weekend of solid hockey.
On Saturday, September 15th the Hurricanes hit the ice again, this time facing off against fan favourites the Calgary Hitmen.
After three periods of hockey pucks soaring and fists flying, the Hurricanes came out on top with a 3-2 victory over the Hitmen.
On Sunday, September 18th, the Hitmen faced off against the Kootenay Ice for a final game.
“Overall, the event went very smoothly, and we were all pleased,” said Rory Snider, Chair of the Thunder Challenge Committee.
“Even though we were competing with the nice summer weather and the start of hunting season, the crowds weren’t too bad.”
Snider said that due to the quality of the hockey and the support of local businesses, the weekend was an overall success, despite lower than expected fan turnout.
Organizers originally expected between 800 and 1,000 fans to fill the stands for each of the three games in the Crowsnest Pass Minor Hockey fundraiser but were not surprised by an average of just over 500 for each game.
Snider said those who did attend were treated to quality hockey as well as fun intermission activities.
One of the activities was the soft puck contest, where Lethbridge Dodge paraded a 2011 Dodge Journey around the rink during the intermission between the second and third periods for each game, and participants attempted to land a soft hockey puck through the SUV’s sunroof.
Half of the proceeds from sales of the $2 pucks were awarded to the contest winner, and the remainder went to Minor Hockey.
Blairmore’s Black Rock Pizza also handed out free pizzas to the loudest fan, and awarded gift certificates to those who landed pucks in empty pizza boxes on the ice.
“Everything went off real well,” said Snider. “We had a lot of great support from local businesses and we really appreciate everything they did.”
Another hit of the weekend was the progressive 50/50 lottery.
Snider said the success of the 50/50 was thanks in large part to several local people and minor hockey parents who took it upon themselves to sell tickets for the lottery.
“We had a lot of great support for that,” said Snider. “We want to especially thank all the local volunteers who gave countless hours to make it possible.
We had an overwhelmingly huge thank you from the three NHL teams who came out and said that if we decided to do a fifth Thunder Challenge, they would gladly come out,” he said.
The total amount of funds raised through the tournament is still being calculated and will soon be made public.
Plans are already being made for next year’s tournament, and the planning committee is anticipating next year’s games to follow suit with the great success of the years prior.