Lightning ready for lights, camera...
A team of young Vernon hockey stars are skating into the national spotlight.
The Scotiabank Bantam Lightning team will be featured on Saturday’s CBC Hockey Night in Canada pre-game show.
The minor league hockey team of 13- to 15-year-olds will introduce host Ron MacLean as well as the NHL games being aired: Montreal Canadiens vs. New Jersey Devils, Winnipeg Jets vs Toronto Maple Leafs and the Detroit Red Wings playing the Vancouver Canucks.
The star appearance was a real win for the team, who recently wrapped up their season with a loss in the playoff final.
“It didn’t really matter that we lost that game because they were so excited about doing Hockey Night in Canada,” said Cheryl Lambert, team manager.
Through their sponsor, the team belongs to Scotiabank’s Community Hockey Program, which sees a $1,000 grant given to each branch across the country to sponsor a minor hockey team in their community.
The program supports minor hockey teams in communities across Canada.
And Vernon’s Lightning were chosen to be Scotiabank Hockey Tonight Kids.
“We sponsor 3,700 teams across the country so to get selected is kinda cool,” said Rob Fulthorpe, Scotiabank branch manager.
“We didn’t think we had a chance,” said Tina Cousins, whose daughter Taylor plays on the team.
Lambert adds: “We are only the second team in B.C. to get this opportunity.”
When news broke that the Lightning had been chosen, the players, parents and coaches were thrilled.
“I think it’s pretty cool,” said Landon Currie, after nailing his line during filming last week.
The team spent close to two hours filming throughout the Wesbild Centre last week.
Ross Lee, videographer for Hockey Night in Canada, says the hardest part is keeping their energy up, and consistent, throughout the shoot.
“They want excitement. It’s got to be pumped up,” said Lee, who had the team on ice as well as in the dressing room, penalty box and stands.
While the end result will only be approximately 20 seconds in the spotlight, the event is one the team will never forget.
“For it to be aired coast to coast to coast, they’ll remember this for the rest of their lives,” said coach Rob Eggert.
Eggert added that the team will be watching it all during a special end-of-season party at Boston Pizza Saturday.