It was a rough and tumble game as two of the top teams in the North Central Hockey League - the Virden Oil Kings and the Miniota/Elkhorn C-Hawks – faced off last Saturday night at Tundra Oil & Gas Place.
Fights broke out frequently, topped off by a melee that had helmets, gloves and jerseys thrown to the ice.
The game had to be stopped by referees numerous times as penalties and game misconducts piled up on both sides. Even the fans got emotionally involved, some yelling at players and swearing at refs from the upper level.
The game ended with a C-Hawks 7-2 victory.
One of the team’s two coaches, Blair Koop, says there’s been a long-standing rivalry for years between the teams.
“You always know that when we play them there’s going to be excitement. Both sides look forward to this matchup throughout the year. The physicality did not surprise me, we all push just a little harder for these games and the competitiveness is great to watch and be a part of as player and coach.”
One of the factors likely adding fuel to the rivalry this season is Virden’s strong performance, just ahead of the C-Hawks in the standings.
As of print deadline, Virden and Russell were tied for first place with 17 points each, Miniota/Elkhorn had 14 points and Moosomin was in third spot with 12.
The Oil Kings and C-Hawks play each other once more during regular season. Koop is already looking forward to the playoffs.
“We have a great group of guys, very tight dressing room, and that is going to take us a long way this year. It’s going to be a fun last stretch of the season. We look forward to meeting them again.”
The C-Hawks’ next game is Jan. 4 against the Moosomin Rangers. The Oil Kings’ next contest isn’t until Jan. 11, an away game in Moosomin.