The cheers of the crowd were deafening at Bastion Elementary in Salmon Arm as local hockey celebrities paid a visit to the school to build some excitement for the World Junior Hockey Championship that B.C. is hosting this year in Victoria and Vancouver.
On Wednesday, Oct. 24, Bastion classes assembled in the school gym to spend some time with the Salmon Arm Silverbacks junior A and midget players, learn a few stick-handling skills and play a few fun floorball (ball hockey) games. At the end of the event the floorball equipment was donated to the school so students can continue to enjoy the new take on a much-loved sport.
The excitement of the students was on full display as they cheered on fellow students and Silverbacks’ players who took on a few hockey-themed challenges such as stick-handling drills and a shootout contest.
Star forward Nick Unruh and freshly recruited ‘Backs goalie Matthew Armitage were both a part of the event, and they said the hugely positive reaction from Bastion students reminded them of their younger days and the excitement of meeting their local sports heroes.
“It was great, I thought it was really cool. It’s important for us to reach out into the community,” Unruh says. “I remember as a kid having these junior guys talk to you or reach out to you really sicks with you. You definitely remember it and it’s important and can be huge for the kids.”
“I thought that was awesome to see, it was a good eye opener to see our team doing that,” says Armitage. “It seems like we are very involved in the community and to see all the little kids out there who are huge fans, it puts a smile on your face. It’s just something so simple that can give back and bring joy to so many kids.”
The IIHF World Junior Championship kicks off Dec. 26 and runs to Jan. 5 in Victoria and Vancouver, marking the 13th time Canada has hosted the tournament.