Fire helmet is Leafs' coolest postgame honor
Leaf captain Sawyer Hunt is no stranger to hockey teams having a helmet or hard-hat of some kind to present to the squad’s hardest working player following each Kootenay International Junior Hockey League game.
However, the veteran winger was still impressed when Nelson Fire Rescue Chief Len MacCharles walked into the Leaf dressing prior to the team’s season opening game to present head coach Mario DiBella with a fire helmet from the Heritage City Hall.
“I think the firefighter helmet is a great idea,” said Hunt. “It’s always something fun to do after the game.”
“I feel the helmet pushes you to play a better game as it goes to the hardest working player and the guy that contributes most of the team success,” he added.
MacCharles believes firefighting is like sports teams in that both bodies must work together and find the right chemistry.
Plus, firefighting and hockey both have leaders, which is the reason for making the presentation the Leafs Hockey team. MacCharles presented the helmet to head coach DiBella in the dressing room before the home opener Friday.
“The helmet is our new tradition and it will bring the team closer together with every win,” Hunt said.
Netminder Josh Williams was the inaugural winner, stopping all 38 shots for a 1-0 victory over Beaver Valley Nitehawks.
Against Kimberley, it was winger Justin Podgorenko getting to wear the helmet for inspiring the Leafs with a third-period tussle against Luke Recchi of the Dynamiters.
The person wearing the helmet will select the next person he believes exemplifies leadership and hard work on the ice and in the dressing room game.
Wullum, Bladon out of lineup due to injury
Leaf GM Lance Morey said Nelson is mostly healthy at the Green and White play host to Fernie Ghostriders, Friday, and Columbia Valley Rockies, Saturday, at the NDCC Arena.
Morey said only Logan Wullum and Michael Bladon are out of the lineup nursing injuries.
Last week Ryan Cooper and Troy Glionna missed Friday’s opener after their inter-branch transfers were not completed in time for the game.
Both players were in the lineup Saturday against Kimberley.
Both Fernie and Columbia Valley struggles in week one of the KIJHL season, with only the Ghostriders able to accumulate a point in two games while the Rockies lost both contests.
Early-season scoring woes
Nelson hopes to break out of an early-season scoring slump against the two Eddie Mountain Division teams.
In two games, Nelson has scored just one goal in each contest — with forward David Sanchez leading the team in points with two.