St. Stephen – The poster reads: Teachers Versus Aces – The Rematch.
It could read “Good grief, what were we thinking?” versus “We might take it easy on the old fogies.”
The St. Stephen High School grad class fund raising hockey game – set for Feb. 27 at 7 p.m. at the Garcelon Civic Center – is guaranteed to be fun for the whole family.
Last year’s match-up raised $5,500 for the 2017 graduating class Safe Grad activities, and this year’s graduates are hoping to match that figure.
Representatives of the teams met at the high school this week to size each other up. If the tone of that meeting is any indication, things could get pretty chippy on the ice.
“Last year was a pretty tough game, there were lots of fights,” stated Aces alternate captain Michael Waugh.
He described last year’s team as “pretty sparky”.
“They had ‘a lot of life in them’,” said Waugh casting an appraising (or was it dismissive?) eye over teachers Tom Hart, Nick Nozzolillo (who will tend goal) and Spartans hockey coach Don McCallum.
The teachers immediately became defensive, claiming they had training regimes – but refused to divulge specific details.
“I can’t really disclose that because then my students would know my training regime,” said Hart – but he did reveal it might involve playing in two one hour games a week, and perhaps a couple beverages – pop of course.
Nozzolillo claimed he played hard – in a senior league. McCallum interrupted, noting the teachers had imported Nozzolillo from Europe to play.
Later in the meeting, teacher Adam Harris, who was famously photographed in repose on the ice in full hockey gear while eating not one, but two hot dogs as last year’s game played around him, demonstrated part of his training regime – which included chocolate cake eating.
Principal Krista Amos confirmed the teachers had been on training regimes since last year’s game, but appeared uncertain as to the success of the workouts, especially given the cake eating.
It was revealed during the meeting the teachers expected one main rule to prevail for this year’s game – a 10 goal lead for them right off the top.
The deck (or goals) might actually be stacked in their favour since grad class members Haley McGaw will be the game’s scorekeeper and Joel Peters will referee.
Looking pointedly at the teachers, Peters said he prefers gift certificates over chocolate and McGaw said she’d consider adding some scores in exchange for high marks in her courses.
When questioned whether hot dog eating on ice would be allowed this year, grad class advisor Natalie Hart stated she had checked the alternate hockey rule book and “ hot dog eating on the ice is allowed only for Harris.”
“There may be more hot dog eating yes,” said Hart, but added “he wanted it upgraded from hot dogs to something a little better.”
Aces goaltender Zachary Leblanc looked a little leery in the meeting after listening to the banter in the room.
“Maybe I should be playing out,” he suggested. “I’ll give you my gear,” offered Peters.
Asked how the Aces are preparing for the upcoming rematch, Waugh said the team practices four to five times a week with an hour and a half workout.
“Holy jeeze,” groaned one of the teachers (reportedly from Europe) who will remain nameless.
“We gotta prepare like that so we can compete with these guys,” stated Waugh, with a nod to the teachers lounging comfortably in their chairs as they considered what to have for lunch.
Waugh also revealed the Aces have “done lots of video review on these guys.”
“We have videos from the ’70s on these guys.”
“You can’t tell who we are. Before high def,” quipped McCallum.
McCallum said last year the Aces put their defencemen up front, “so we’ve game planned for that for this year.”
When asked if the book makers were taking odds on who might win, Hart threw out the cheeky comment “the Aces might actually get a win,” likely referencing the team’s recent losing streak.
“Straight for the jugular,” said Waugh, with a sorry shake of his head that might not bode well for Hart’s time on the ice.
There will be “Chuck a Puck” and other forms of entertainment during the game’s intermission. It can only be hoped the Aces don’t hogtie Hart at centre ice as a target for the Chuck a Puck throw.