The month of November is not only known for giving out the spooks on Halloween or being with family on Thanksgiving – it’s also to raise awareness of men's health issues.
To help out this cause, most men grow a mustache in order to raise money for the Movember Foundation, an organization dedicated to reducing the number of men dying prematurely due to cancer and mental health related issues. This year, a number of organizations across the AJHL took place in the fundraiser, including the Spruce Grove Saints and the Sherwood Park Crusaders.
It was these two teams who met at the end of the month in what was known as the Movember Home-and-Home series. Both teams reduced their admission prices to $5, with anything over and above donated towards the team’s moustache growing efforts – with the team collecting the most donations winning a prize. The prize? Embarrassment of the highest degree, with the losing team’s mascot being forced to don their opponent’s jersey at their next home game. The stakes had never been higher between the two rivals.
On to the games!
It was a battle between the pipes, as both the Cru and the Saints had great goaltenders in Matt Berlin and Nolan Kent – but that didn’t stop the goals from going in.
In game one at the Sherwood Park Arena, neither team disappointed in giving fans in attendance a great game. The two North Division rivals gave the over 900 fans in attendance plenty to cheer for, scoring nine goals over 60 minutes. The Crusaders grabbed themselves the initial goal of the game towards the end of first, courtesy of Tanner Younghans. In the second, Brandon Wallis added one for the Cru, and Josh Harris potted one for the Saints. Early in the third, Smythe tied up the game at two a piece.Sherwood Park killed off the Saints after a superb solo effort from Chase Torontow gave the Cru a 3-2 lead. Goals from Oszytko and two from Atwal got the Cru to six, the Saints got another from Scott too which finished the game at 6-3 in favour of the Crusaders.
As for game two, the goals and the crowd all came out on this night too. The Crusaders got goals from Dykstra, Maltby, and Readman, but it wasn’t enough to extend their win streak to seven, falling 4-3 in OT after Josh Harris got one by Matt Berlin.
If you put the results aside, his was an extremely successful weekend for both organizations. These two rivals came together and raised money for a great cause.
When all was said and done for the month, the Crusaders raised $10,196 for the Movember Foundation, placing them among the top 125 teams in Canada; an achievement the Crusaders hope to replicate.
As for the Movember Home-and-Home results? Well, let’s just say the Crusaders are looking forward to seeing the Saints mascot in our colours – and to do it all again next season.