The Rimbey Rock had some pretty prestigious friends over for a visit recently in the form of the Calgary-based Oval X-Treme women’s hockey team and in the process, the Rock raised nearly $2,800 and promptly donated it to the Canadian Cancer Society’s research foundation with the aim of finding a cure for breast cancer.
Playing out of the University of Calgary, the X-Treme feature Olympic gold medalist Cherie Piper who played a big role in Canada’s triumphant victory over the Americans during the 2002 Salt Lake City games to capture the gold medal. But the ladies brought a lot more than that and with some smooth skating and excellent playmaking, they walked away with a 4-2 victory, mind you, the rules were altered just a bit.
“I thought the game went really well and the crowd that was one hand seemed to really liked the game,” Said Rock General Manager Greg Conway. “Those ladies on the Oval team played together really well. Yes, the ladies did win 4-2 but I think that the ‘no hitting’ rule really threw our boys off their game.”
As part of the promotion, the two starting line-ups used 11 pink-coloured hockey sticks which were later sold and raised $2,790 for the worthy cause. As well, longtime residents Vivian and Cliff Longman were on hand to perform the opening face-off and the money raised was donated in their names, as Vivian is currently battling the disease.
“Vivian and Cliff were really pleased and excited when I asked them to participate. I’m not sure how Vivian’s first reaction was as I had just talked to Cliff before game time,” Conway said. “They had all three boys out on the ice with them. When the crowd heard that we were donating the money from the sticks to the breast cancer in the Longman’s name they gave a loud cheer and an ovation. It was really nice to give back to them, as they have given to the community for so long.”
As for any future visits from the X-Treme, Conway said they’d be welcome with open arms and apparently, the ladies feel the same way.
“We would like to have them back again. The Oval people said they would like to come back as they said it was really good game,” Conway said. “In their league they are one of the top teams. The crowd was a fair size but there was a lot going on and a few minor hockey teams were away at tournaments. It would have been nice to fill the arena but we were happy with the size as it was.”
As for the regular season thus far for the Rock, Conway said it hasn’t panned out the way he had hoped it would. As of last Friday, the Rock sat in third place in the Heritage League’s Prairie Division with just six points and a 3-win, 15-loss record. Despite their poor start however, the Rock are still ahead of the Ponoka Stampeders who sit fourth with only two points and a 1-win, 12-loss record.
“Well I think we could have a better start,” Conway said. I’m not sure what the reasons are – it’s difficult to say. We have a great coaching staff and the boys all like the coach. We’ve got a group of talented hockey players, but it just seems like they cannot get it together as a team. It will come though.”