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Stonewall team celebrates violence-marred championship win

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Members of the Stonewall Blues hockey team receive their championship banner in Stonewall on Thursday.

CRYSTAL SCHICK/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Enlarge Image

Members of the Stonewall Blues hockey team receive their championship banner in Stonewall on Thursday. Photo Store

STONEWALL — After an 11-day wait, the Stonewall Blues bantam hockey team finally received its Interlake regional championship banner on Thursday evening.

The Stonewall team, including male and female players aged 13 and 14, had claimed the regional championship title on March 30 with a 5-1 win over the Lake Manitoba First Nation team at Stonewall's Veterans Memorial Sports Complex. But after the game, the championship banner couldn't be found, so the Blues players didn't get to have their on-ice celebration until now.

"It's exciting but a little disappointing at the same time," said left-wing Quin Arsenault. "But it's ours now and I'm happy for that."

The game was called by officials with 11 minutes remaining in the third period after a violent on-ice incident during which Lake Manitoba First Nation players punched and kicked a linesman, knocking him down on the ice. Another Lake Manitoba player allegedly shot a puck at the referees.

Police are still investigating the incident and no charges have yet been laid.

When RCMP officers cleared the arena of spectators after the game, the Stonewall team discovered the banner was missing.

After a photo of the banner appeared on the Facebook page of one of the Lake Manitoba players, the banner was returned undamaged to Interlake officials two days later. Officials did not reveal who returned it or where it had been.

Stonewall coaches arranged for an hour of ice time on Thursday so the players could receive their banner in front of their families and celebrate the win on home ice with a fun skills competition followed by a team pizza party.

ashley.prest@freepress.mb.ca

 

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