A sea of green patched the west side of North Toronto Arena: Havergal supporters.
A crowd of burgundy coated the east end: Bishop Strachan fans.
It was as if the game between these two rivals was a gold medal match at the Winter Olympics.
All the spectators watched, hooted and hollered for their school’s hockey teams as Strachan’s Bobcats squared off against Havergal’s Gators in the 23rd annual Hockey Day, where they vie for the Elizabeth Kathleen Hewitt Memorial Trophy.
For the Bobcats, the game was an exercise in continuing their four-year streak. The school headed into the game Feb. 4 looking to grab for the fifth straight time the trophy named for the wife of legendary sportscaster Foster Hewitt.
They did not disappoint, downing the Gators 5-2.
The first period ended in a 1-0 score, with the Bobcats’ Daryl Watts scoring via Syd Greenberg. A back-and-forth second period saw Samara Lewis grab a goal on Jessie Eldridge’s assist, putting Bishop Strachan up 2-0. The Gators answered that with a goal from Kylie Fung, via Emma Buckles and Abby Copeland.
Lauren Moriyama put the Bobcats back up by one. Dina Curtosi, from Liz Schnekenburger, brought the green and gold back to within one. Wrapping up the second period scoring spree was BSS, with a fourth coming from Watts, her second, via Eldridge and Grace Fenton.
The third period saw Moriyama netting her second unassisted goal with 2:40 left in the game.
But the game wasn’t about who wins and loses, according to BSS captains Julia Fedeski and Eldridge. It was about raising the school spirit of the student body.
Both BSS and Havergal were in the midst of their Spirit Week celebrations.
“There’s a lot of pressure from the team, but it’s a lot of fun — a lot of energy,” Fedeski said after the game, adding this could be her last Hockey Day match, since she’s off to the University of New Hampshire on a hockey scholarship.
Eldridge will back though, and looking forward to the next big match against Havergal.
“For us, as a hockey team, it’s a lot of fun,” Eldridge said.
The last time Havergal won was before head coach Derek Tellis took the helm.
The Gators are developing their program, and Tellis says he is happy to be a part of the new direction.
“What happens is these girls that are younger and a part of the program are going to be the ones who take that program to the
next step in the years to come,” he said. “I’ve only been a part of the program for three years now, so it’ll be nice to get in at the ground floor and see it develop.”
Havergal captains Tessa Buchan and Sabrina Manolescu, in grades 10 and 9 respectively, were all about the emotion it brings out in their fans, who made signs, and brought their school band to the hockey arena.
“It brings our communitytogether — brings a lot of the spirit out,” Buchan said.
For Tellis, it’s a positive change from the old days when athleticism wasn’t the emphasis.
“What I think is interesting is that early on in the rivalry it was old girls against old girls for entertainment purposes for old boys in the ’40s and what I think is nice is the girls are showing what kind of athletes they are [now],” he said. “It also brings the school together, especially at a school like ours where we have the grade 7s play with high school students.”