Cowichan players get chance to play at Canucks game

A group of young hockey players get to experience the NHL dream.

The Cowichan Valley Minor Hockey League’s Novice C-4 Stormriders get three minutes to play during intermission of the March 14 Canucks/Minnesota Wild game in Vancouver.

“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity,” head coach, Loren Halloran said.

The team won the Mini-Minor competition from the Canucks Centre for BC Hockey in February.

The team gets 22 free tickets and 32 reduced-priced tickets, along with pre-game instruction, a team welcome video, a visit from Fin the Canucks mascot and a souvenir video.

Halloran said the kids are really excited about the trip.

“They were freaking out,” he said. “They were so happy and so were the parents. The parents were like eight year olds when we told them.”

Every team member is going on the overnight trip.

“We’re trying our hardest to get there,” he said of the fundraising initiatives undertaken by the team.

The trip is costly, even with the complimentary tickets.

The team is selling hot dogs, Purdy’s chocolates and there will be a car wash at Fuller Lake Arena Saturday, Feb. 26 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. to offset some of the costs.

“We need $4,500,” he said.

“It’s all about these little kids from our community.”

Halloran said the team is looking for any help they can get.

During the first intermission the mini-hockey players get three and a half minutes to show the thousands of fans what they’ve got.

“Just getting out there and looking up ­— it’s going to be huge,” he said.

Halloran said the team has worked so hard this season that this win and trip just tops it all off.

“It’s a huge Cinderella story,” he said.

“We had kids who could hardly skate and now they’re getting ready for competitive hockey.”

Halloran said he thinks the trip will bring the team closer.

“The camaraderie will be huge,” he said. “They’re going to feel like a million bucks.”

He said the kids will be earning bragging rights and will have memories to cherish for a long time.

“We’re going out with an absolute blast,” he said of the end of the hockey season.