Truro and Dartmouth kids played hockey with a twist Saturday.
The bantam AA teams swapped half their players with each other, as they donned their rivals’ jerseys to play the Jean Beliveau Friendly at the Rath Eastlink Community Centre.
“It shows that hockey is more than just going out and competing with your team,” said Dartmouth’s Ty Doucette, who was captaining Truro for the game. “It’s about making friends and loving the game.”
He felt it was important for rival players to come together as friends in the wake of the X-Men vs. Axemen brawl earlier this month in Wolfville.
“We can get away from being so competitive and just have some fun and experience with some other guys,” said Doucette.
His Truro counterpart Kohl Lockhart said there was no great rivalry between the teams at this point and they have not even played a regular season match this year.
Captaining another team for the day felt “pretty odd,” at first, but he enjoyed the match just as much as the others.
“I don’t get to do that every day,” Lockhart said.
Truro’s coach Michael Spencer said that today’s friendly was in keeping with the wishes of the late Jean Beliveau, the late Montreal Canadiens player who passed away aged 83 in 2014.
Beliveau was well-known as a gentleman both on and off the ice, showing kindness to fellow players and fans alike and earning the respect of hockey fans across Canada.
“This means a lot to me actually,” said Spencer. “It takes the pressure out of the game for the kids and they can just be themselves and meet some new friends along the way.”
He agreed to the idea of a friendly after his Dartmouth counterpart Dave Tzagarakis reached out to him.
The Feb. 16 Jean Beliveau friendly was the first-ever game of this type to be played in Truro.
Spencer hoped that many more like it will be played across the province in Beliveau’s memory.
The final score was 6-3 to the home team.