The Bantam AAA Red Deer Rebels didn’t quite fill the net on the ice Saturday afternoon, but they made a special impact off it.
While the Rebels dropped a tight 3-2 decision to the top-ranked Calgary Bisons in Alberta Bantam Hockey League action, they were able to Fill the Net for the Red Deer Food Bank.
“It’s important for these kids, they’re very privileged to play this level of hockey and not everybody gets that opportunity, so we have to give to the food bank because it’s that time of year and I hope they learn that everything isn’t always roses. You have to help those in need,” Rebels head coach Justin Jarmolicz said.
After falling behind 3-0, the Rebels showed a good push back in the third period with a short-handed goal from Jayden Henderson at 14:57 of the final frame. Defenceman Austin Mayert brought Red Deer within one of the Bisons on a one-timer from the point with under two minutes to play and the goalie out.
“We figured out we have to play 60 minutes. We played a weaker opponent last weekend and we just had to show up and win, we were shell-shocked a bit early, but we did fight back. We challenged them between the second and third and they responded,” Jarmolicz said.
“That’s our MO – we always work and we never quit. We closed the gap. We had a tough end to the game but it is what it is.”
Pretty cool for all involved. @reddeerhockey @rdsfaaachiefs even @calgaryfireAAA and @CBHA_Bisons all come together to help out @ReddeerFoodbank donations grew pretty sizeably through early part of the night. Donations accepted until 7:30 tonight at Collicutt. #reddeer pic.twitter.com/QP9bunjIhA
— Byron Hackett (@RDAbyronhackett) December 3, 2017
The Rebels also teamed up with the Midget AAA Sutter Fund Chiefs for the Fill the Net campaign and captain Paige Grenier said that’s what it’s all about at this time of year.
“To give back to the community is always something that teams are looking to do,” she said.
“Our group is always looking to give back to the Red Deer community. Especially around Christmas, when things are a little tight. It’s nice to be able to know you’re helping out families in need. To partner with the Bantam team, it just adds to the pile so, it’s awesome.”
Even their opponent in Alberta Female Hockey league play on Saturday, the Calgary Fire pitched in with a donation to the cause.
Red Deer was also able to top the Fire 4-3 in a shootout. Hanah Macdonald had two goals in regulation and added the shootout winner in the victory. Shae Demale also had a goal while Rebecca Bridge made 28 saves in the win.
Sutter Fund Chiefs team manager Dana Sansregret added that earlier in the year they were brainstorming how to help out on a road trip when they thought about a Fill the net game. After seeing the empty shelves at the food bank, Sansregret was more than happy to help out.
“It’s very important for us to give back and support the community,” she said.
“Not only do they support us by coming to watch our hockey, but (the community) supports us with food bank drives or whatever we can come up with, which is fantastic. It’s also big for the teams to work together, that cooperation between the teams. We’re not competing with each other, we’re working together for a common cause.”
The bantam AAA Rebels earned a 4-1 win Sunday over the Lethbridge Golden Hawks. Bret Gerrits, Zachery Burns and Matthew Allan and Myles Hilman scored in the victory and Joshua Hilts made 28 saves.