Manitoulin Special Olympics team beats Law Enforcement Torch Run Team in first annual floor hockey challenge

The Wild Bills Special Olympics team heads for the Blue Line Enforcers’ net. photo by Lori Thompson

M’CHIGEENG––The Wild Bills Special Olympics team doubled the Blue Line Enforcers 10-5 in the first annual floor hockey challenge held at Manitoulin Secondary School on Wednesday, May 2.

Manitoulin Special Olympics (MSO) organizer Katherine Tipper welcomed players and guests to loud cheers from the sidelines. “Welcome to our first and hopefully annual floor hockey challenge against the law enforcement torch run team. Our team has been practicing really hard all year long. I’m sure the law enforcement team has too,” she said to general laughter.

Ms. Tipper is usually a coach with the Special Olympics track and field and baseball teams and helped with floor hockey this year. She noted that with one exception, the floor hockey teams did not have the opportunity to play off-Island this year. Ms. Tipper approached OPP Community Safety Officer Marie Ford with the idea of a game and “she made it happen,” said Ms. Tipper.

Naughty officers Cindy Ramage, Steve Redmond and Marie Ford get a timeout in the penalty box.

Some announcements and introductions were made by MSO community coordinator Janet Anning. Yuri Clayton will be representing Manitoulin in 5 pin bowling at the national games in May. The track team of Matthew Bedard, Kelsey Mellan, Austin Featherstone and Mark Dokum are heading to Halifax July 31 for the Summer National Games.

Ms. Anning reminded everyone of Bluegrass in the Country that will be held June 8-10 at Providence Bay. “The Canucky Bluegrass Boys have played there since the first Bluegrass in the Country,” she said. “They’ve become our home band for the event.” The festival is also an annual fundraiser for MSO.

Constable Ford spoke of the upcoming June 22 Law Enforcement Torch Run in Mindemoya. “It’s a fantastic event,” she said.  The torch run is a fundraiser for Special Olympics games.

Kelly Timmermans of Country 103 urged spectators to consider attending a fundraiser cruise hosted by North Channel Tours on the Thursday before the bluegrass festival, reminded Ms. Timmermans. “There’s only 16 or so tickets left. The cruise will be an amazing and great time.”

Prior to puck drop, the two teams lined up at the centre line for introductions. Sandy Graham led the singing of O Canada. Coach Bill (of Wild Bill fame) led his team in a rousing cheer of ‘Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.’ “Except on Manitoulin, we say let me be good looking. I’m very thankful the law enforcement team came out to play our guys,” he said.

Ms. Timmermans dropped the puck for MSO player Dayne Tipper and OPP Detachment Commander Staff Sergeant Kevin Webb. “KT has been a great supporter of ours,” noted Ms. Tipper.

A fine display of athletics and hilarity ensued, with belly bumps, mock fights and at one point, the entire law enforcement line in the penalty box. Constable Ford presented the trophy to the winners, Wild Bills.

“Thanks for cheering,’’ she said to the spectators. “I know it wasn’t for us. I present the Law Enforcement Floor Hockey Challenge trophy to the team that kicked our butts tonight. We’ll see you next year. We’ll get it back! We want to remember this. It was a riot.”

The teams line up for a group shot following the Wild Bills’ victory.
photos by Lori Thompson