Vikings host inaugural Winter Holiday Classic Friday

Dave Mathieson
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Games starts at 7 p.m.

Vikings captain Andrew Skinner stickhandles the puck past his bench during NSSAF Division 2 hockey action at Amherst Stadium. 

AMHERST– After spending 25 years in the wilderness, the Amherst Regional high School hockey team found its way back to Amherst Stadium this season, and that’s where they plan to stay.

One way to solidify their presence is to host an annual Holiday Winter Classic, and that’s exactly what they are going to do beginning tonight at Amherst Stadium.

“People are home for the holidays and we thought it would be great if this was something we did each year,” said Kelvin Gould, Vikings assistant coach.

The game will feature the ARHS Vikings playing against the Eastern Shore Schooners. There will also be face painting and other family friendly activities.

“We want to promote an evening of winter fun and encourage the Viking alumni, the public, and people who are involved with the high school, students and people who work and volunteer at ARHS, to come out and have a good time.”

Organization of the event began a couple of weeks ago, and Gould says they will take more time to organize it next year.

“We will make it better and better from here on in,” said Gould.

As for the game itself, the Vikings will play against Eastern Shore District High School.

Two fathers of players at Eastern Shore District High School died in a car crash Oct. 2 while attending a high school hockey tournament in the Annapolis Valley. The Vikings also attended the same tournament.

“It was very, very unfortunate,” said Gould. “You don’t like to see things like that happen.”

The Vikings and the Schooners both play Division 2 hockey in the Nova Scotia School Athletic Federation. They played each other earlier this season; a game the Vikings won 2-1.

“There are a lot of Grade 12 players on that team and they have a lot of big players, and they’re pushing to win it all this year,” said Vikings coach Wayne MacKenzie. “But the teams are quite equal and the team that is more disciplined will win.”

Gould agrees.

“Staying out of the penalty box is the difference between winning and not winning. It’s something we’ve struggled with this year but we think we have the right formula for it now.”

“The discipline is different than minor hockey,” added MacKenzie. “We want them to stay away from the after-whistle penalties. The team that does that is usually the team that comes out on top.”

MacKenzie said the Vikings will need to play sound defensive hockey in their own zone, “and maybe get some bounces in the offensive zone.”

Both Gould and MacKenzie say fan support has been great this season.

“We have good turnouts at our games,” said Gould. “It’s our first year and we’ve had great support.”

“It’s competitive and there’s not a lot of blowouts,” added MacKenzie. “We’ve been getting good crowds and we want the fans to keep coming back.”

Tonight’s game gets underway tonight at 7 p.m. at Amherst Stadium. Cost of admission is $2.



Organizations: Vikings, Eastern Shore District High School, Nova Scotia School Athletic Federation

Geographic location: Amherst Stadium, Annapolis Valley

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