A season of fine sportsmanship from her son’s team, capped by the honourable act of a lone Prince George player, gave hockey mom Lisa Mazurek a winning idea.
“I was so proud of them,” said Mazurek, of the Pee Wee Tier One Watkin Motors Vipers.
Their impressive season was topped by an inspiring event by Matthew Marotta of the Prince George Cougars during the recent Coca-Cola Pee Wee Invitational Hockey Tournament at Civic Arena.
While the rest of the players and coaches left the ice, refusing to shake the hands of their opponents following a controversial loss, Marotta was the lone Cougar who bravely stayed on the ice to congratulate his opponents.
Marotta’s act has sparked provincial headlines and touched thousands of players, parents, coaches and fans.
It was shortly after that Mazurek heard about the Black Press (Morning Star parent company) contest which would award 10 minor hockey teams tickets to watch Sunday’s Heritage Classic game at B.C. Place between the Vancouver Canucks and Ottawa Senators.
As part of her application for the Vipers, Mazurek wrote: “If we should win our team would like to be able to take Matthew with us.”
That, and the fact that the Vipers, despite being one of the youngest Pee Wee teams in Canada (average age is 11), showed so much dedication, won them the trip.
Unfortunately, Marotta is not able to join them.
“It would have been wonderful if we could have brought him along,” said Mazurek, adding that the team was also disappointed to learn he couldn’t attend.
But they are still pumped to take a seat at the historic event, in their first row seats just to the side of the Vancouver net.
“I don’t think these boys could ask to be any closer, if not on the ice. Our kids are totally excited to go.”
For her son Lucas Zubrod, it’s still surreal.
“It’s almost like Christmas for him.”
It’s a great way to end the season, and show the players that hard work and dedication is rewarded, even if it’s not with a trophy or medal (even though the Vipers did earn a Most Sportsmanlike Team Award in a recent Penticton tourney, and they managed to place fourth at the Invitational).
“It was amazing to see a bunch of kids with a whole lot of heart,” said Mazurek.