Because Ryan Clark was a wellliked goalie both within the Cowichan Valley minor hockey system and for the junior B Comox Valley Glacier Kings before he died in a car accident five years ago, goalies always get special recognition at the Ryan Clark Memorial Tournament.
Although the Fuller Lake Flyers won the tournament, a heroic performance in the final by Abbotsford netminder Joey Pastro earned him top honours as selected by Clark’s family. Pastro made 70 saves for his undermanned team in the 6-4 loss to the Fuller Lake squad.
Four Cowichan Valley midget C teams, coached by Paul Frechette, Adam Taylor, Darren Rasmusen and Shaun Neligan were among the 15 who took part in the tournament, along with squads from Abbotsford, Surrey, Juan de Fuca, Victoria, Mission, Sooke, Nanaimo and Peninsula.
Rasmusen’s Fuller Lake Flyers met Taylor’s Duncan-based team – the defending champions – in a raucous semifinal, with Rasmusen’s team winning 7-6. "It was super exciting," said Kathy Irving, the Fuller Lake liaison for the tournament. "The place was packed."
Abbotsford beat Nanaimo in the other semi, setting up the final.
The tournament focuses on sportsmanship, with a zero-tolerance policy toward fighting, and after 33 games, Irving was thrilled to look at a stack of scoresheets and see that only one was missing the top copy, which indicates additional disciplinary action.
The event also raised lots of money for the benevolent fund in Clark’s name. Irving expects that when it’s all tallied, it will add up to more than $5,000. The fund has already helped many hockey players and their families.
"Last year we gave out over $6,000 to families that needed stuff and kids that couldn’t otherwise play hockey," Irving said. Helping to make the fundraiser possible, all timekeeping and scorekeeping was taken care of by volunteers from Clark’s grad class from Chemainus Secondary, coordinated by former classmate Andrew Young.