The Burns Lake Braves are gearing up to play rivals, Houston Luckies in two games next weekend.
The Braves are returning to the ice for just two games only and all proceeds will go to the Burns Lake Tragedy Fund to assist with local fundraising efforts, following the explosion and fire at Babine Forest Products last month.
Both games promise some great hockey action as the traditional rivals will clash for the first time in over a year.
As reported in the May 18, 2011 edition of the Lakes District News, the Braves dipped out of the Central Interior Hockey League 2011/2012 season due to a lack of players, forcing the team off the ice. During the 2009/2010 season, the team was relaunched after a four year hiatus.
Past Braves goalie, Wes Hart said he won’t be lacing up his skates for the charity event, however he will be taking on the role as lead coach.
He said to Lakes District News the idea for the charity match between the two rival teams first came from Alonzo Slaney, Luckies defence man and it snowballed from there.
“When the idea was first suggested, the Luckies were still in the playoffs, so when they lost to Williams Lake we jumped on the opportunity to set a date for the charity games,” Hart said.
In a recent article published in the Houston Today, Slaney said, “Lots of our guys have played with guys who worked at the sawmill and they became good friends.”
Game one will be played at the Tom Forsyth Memorial Arena on Feb. 24, 2012 and the puck drops at 7:30 p.m.
The teams will then head to Houston for game two, which will be played on Feb. 25, 2012 at 7:30 p.m. at the Claude Parish Arena.
“We are hoping it will be well supported. I think that the games would be well attended regardless, but we are hoping that those who wouldn’t usually come out to a Braves game will come to support the Burns Lake Tragedy Fund and the food bank …. the more the merrier,” Hart said.
Fundraising initiatives at the Houston game include a 50/50 raffle and a paper planes contest. For a twoonie, contestants can fold their own paper plane and take aim at several prizes on the ice.
A couple of past Braves players have been playing with the Omineca Ice in Vanderhoof, but aside from that Hart said the majority have been off the ‘competitive’ ice.
As for any Braves team practices, Hart said there will not be any. “We are just going to jump right in …. I think there will probably be a few periods of readjustment for us …. for us it is about doing something positive to help.”
He said the team is just one person shy of a full line up, with some returning players including, Jarrett Anderson, Chris Ivany, Steve Wilejto, Jason Gudjonson and Matt Matus.
Hart is not saying if this brief resurrection of the Braves could lead to a return to the ice next season, but stopped short of ruling out the possibility. “We will just call this a one off for now …. we will see what happens down the pipe. It is easier to get players to commit to play for a weekend, rather than an 18 game schedule, but we will see what happens, anything is possible.”