Langley – Trinity Western’s men’s and women’s hockey teams hosted the first ever Hockey Gives Blood Skills Challenge Friday at the George Preston Arena.
The closed event, which followed all health and safety protocols set out by British Columbia’s Provincial Health Officer and viaSport, featured a total of five different events in both the women’s and men’s events while promoting and fundraising for Hockey Gives Blood and the Canadian Blood Services.
As of Friday evening, the event had raised over $440 towards the Spartans fundraising goal of $1,000.
TWU forward Chloe Reid (Leduc, Alta.) kicked off the competition by winning the fastest skater event with a speed of 25 miles per hour, narrowly edging out teammate Jessie Sylvain (Girouxville, Alta.). First-year defenceman McKenzie Mayo (Saskatoon, Sask.) then won the hardest shot event with a slapshot speed of 68 miles per hour.
The shootout event saw Ashlee Wolfe (Holbein, Sask.) score two goals on four shots, including a wrist shot in the final round to take the competition. It took multiple tie-breaking rounds for Cheyenna Harden (Leduc, Alta.) to win the shooting accuracy event after she, defencemen Ryleigh White (Warman, Sask.) and Kate Bumstead (Headingley, Man.) all score three goals in the opening round.
Jade Ridgewell (Delta, BC) rounded out the women’s competition with a win in the agility trial over Mayo, who was looking for her second event win of the day.
The men’s side of the competition opened with the fastest skater event, as Spartans fifth-year defenceman Kenny Batke (Vernon, B.C.) clocked in at 25 miles per hour to win. Defencemen continued to shine in the next event as Elijah Vilio (Aldergrove, B.C.) narrowly edged out Travis Verveda (Alix, Alta.) with a 95 mile per hour shot.
Highlighted by a creative goal using two sticks in the opening round, first-year forward Max Lightfoot (Mississauga, Ont.) won the shootout event by playing a pass to himself between the legs before tucking one in past goaltender Isaac LaBelle (Saskatoon, Sask). There were a pair of winners in the accuracy challenge, with Verveda and forward Julian Uhryniuk (Winnipeg, Man.) tying with three goals apiece. The men’s event then closed with rookie forward Travis Walton (Abbotsford, B.C.) winning all four of his heats in the men’s agility trial.
WOMEN’S COMPETITION WINNERS
Fastest Skater – Chloe Reid (Leduc, Alta.)
Hardest Shot – McKenzie Mayo (Saskatoon, Sask.)
Shootout – Ashlee Wolfe (Holbein, Sask.)
Shooting Accuracy – Cheyenna Harden (Leduc, Alta.)
Agility – Jade Ridgewell (Delta, B.C.)
MEN’S COMPETITION WINNERS
Fastest Skater – Kenny Batke (Vernon, B.C.)
Hardest Shot – Elijah Vilio (Aldergrove, B.C.)
Shootout – Max Lightfoot (Mississauga, Ont.)
Shooting Accuracy – Travis Verveda (Alix, Alta.), Julian Uhryniuk (Winnipeg, Man.)
Agility – Travis Walton (Abbotsford, B.C.)
FULL REPLAY | WOMEN’S COMPETITION
FULL REPLAY | MEN’S COMPETITON
Hockey Gives Blood was founded in 2018 by former hockey players, all of whom were seeking to do more for the hockey community. It is a non-profit society that has partnered with the Canadian Blood Services in an effort to engage and educate the hockey community about the importance of blood and stem cell donation.
The inspiration for Hockey Gives Blood came from two separate events: the first being the death of Tom Middleton (father of Stu Middleton, cofounder) and the second being the Humboldt Broncos tragedy. Stu’s father was killed on the Trans-Canada Highway while en route to one his Junior games in 2000. Stu’s teammates and the local hockey community helped him through that difficult time just as Canadians witnessed the hockey community rallying together to help those affected by the accident in Humboldt. In the wake of the 2018 tragedy, Hockey Gives Blood set out to build something that is positive, is long-lasting and is a tool for the hockey community to make a positive impact at every level.
You can learn more about Hockey Gives Blood here.